- PMK chief S Ramadoss, an ally of the BJP, made the remarks
- "Hey dogs, come see where all I have planted trees," he told journalists
- Chennai Press Club condemned his comments and said he should apologise
The chief of BJP ally PMK has taken on journalists, calling them "dogs" and making remarks seen as threats. In a cellphone video that's being widely circulated, PMK chief S Ramadoss is seen recalling an earlier response to the question of tree cutting.
'I've replied for this a hundred times," said the 79-year-old leader at an event on "Hate politics" in Chennai on Saturday.
Then, recalling his response to a Kolkata-based journalist a few years ago, he quoted, "The motive of your repeating this question is to let people who don't know about this know that Ramadoss is a tree-cutter. Hereafter, if we protest, we will not cut trees but hack those who ask questions like this, and dump them across the road."
Then he added, "Hey dogs, come and see where all I have planted trees. For one year I have been offering Rs 1 lakh prize. But not one person has come to see. I've raised a forest in our charitable trust".
The PMK was known for felling trees during its protests in the 1980s.
A few years ago, the PMK went on the warpath after several of its leaders were jailed. Reports from Tamil Nadu said party cadres targeted public buses and cut down more than 100 trees.
Mr Ramadoss, who was one of the leaders arrested, was granted bail in all five cases.
The party had blamed the Dalit-based party Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi or the VCK for the violence and accused then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa of arresting them to net new voters ahead of the state assembly elections.
The Chennai Press Club condemned his comments and said Mr Ramadoss should apologise.
Mr Ramadoss' comments come after a rout of his party in the Lok Sabha election despite its aligning with the ruling AIADMK and the BJP, which it was vehemently criticising. As part of the tie-up, the ruling AIADMK had also assured a Rajya Sabha seat to PMK, which many believe could help Ramadoss Jr become a lawmaker with a berth in the union cabinet.
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