On Thursday (May 16) evening, footwear, eggs and stones were hurled at Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) party chief Kamal Haasan in Aravakuruchi constituency of Karur district in Tamil Nadu. Meanwhile, the Coimbatore police denied him permission to campaign in Sulur constituency in Coimbatore district.
After the incident, MNM party functionaries shielded Kamal, and drove him from the place. Soon after, MNM party cadres caught two people, believed to be from Hindu Munnani, and thrashed them. Police rescued the two men, after which MNM party workers staged a protest, raised slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demanded immediate action against the assailants.
Kamal was campaigning for his party’s Aravakurichi bypoll candidate Mohan Raj. Hours after leaving the place, he tweeted saying that the incident was an acid test for their decorum and demeanour, and appealed to his party workers to not be drawn into violence.
Dear MNM family and fans, this is an acid test for our decorum and demeanour. Do not listen to their noises and be drawn into their violence. They are extremists who are slighted by the Truth. Naalai Namadhey – @ikamalhaasan
The Coimbatore police denied permission for Kamal Haasan to campaign in Sulur in Coimbatore. Sources said Kamal had sought permission to campaign for his party’s Sulur candidate in 10 places. However, after an intelligence report suggested that his arrival could cause tension in the place, the Coimbatore police denied permission for his campaign.
During a campaign in Aravakurichi on May 12, Kamal had said that “independent India’s first extremist was a Hindu”, referring to Nathuram Godse. His statement received widespread backlash from Hindu outfits and BJP leaders.
On May 15, the Karur police booked him on charges of promoting enmity between two groups on grounds of religion for his controversial speech. However, he applied for anticipatory bail before the Madurai bench of Madras High court, and restarted his campaign trail in in Madurai district.
Four constituencies in Tamil Nadu – Aravakuruchi, Thiruparamkundram, Ottappidaram and Sulur – go to polls on May 19.