Chennai: Superstar Rajinikanth who lost his cool on Wednesday after being questioned about his statement justifying last week's police firing in Tuticorin that killed 13 people, expressed regret, saying he did not intend to hurt anyone's sentiments.
- Didn't intend to hurt anyone's feelings, Rajinikanth tweeted today
- His remarks yesterday were seen to justify police firing in Tuticorin
- 13 died in police firing demanding closure of copper smelter plant
Rajinikanth had sparked a huge controversy over his statement that was seen to justify police firing that killed 13 people demanding closure of the Sterlite copper smelter plant. Residents of the port city have been protesting against the plant for years, alleging that the plant had worsened ground water and air pollution in the area.
Rajinikanth's decision to hold "anti-social elements" responsible for the violence was seen to echo the ruling AIADMK government's line and angered many people, who were convinced the police manipulated the protests to create a situation to open fire.
When the aspiring politician was repeatedly asked about the basis on which he had arrived at his conclusion, he initially evaded a clear answer and then, lost his temper.
In a tweet on Thursday, Rajinikanth said Chennai's journalists association felt that he had responded menacingly and this wasn't his intention. "I regret if I had hurt anyone," he said, underlining that he did not intend to hurt anyone's feeling.
Rajinikanth, however, has not responded to the barrage of criticism that followed his remarks, blaming the "anti-social elements" who went on a rampage for the police excesses. He had controversially also insisted that people shouldn't protest about everything else Tamil Nadu would turn into a "graveyard".
MDMK founder Vaiko said Rajinikanth's comments have "hurt crores of Tamils".
Ten people were killed on the day of the shootings, and a further three have died since, making this one of the most deadly environmental protests in India since the death of 14 people in West Bengal's Nandigram protests in 2007 against the government's plan to acquire land for industries.
This week, the government ordered closure of the plant for good but opposition parties and many experts contend that the order issued by the ruling AIADMK did not sufficiently make out a case, letting the London-listed Vedanta Resources to get relief from court.