Rajini won’t apologise for Periyar remark; Stalin says think twice

Rajini courted controversy with his remark that Periyar had paraded naked effigies of Ram and Sita

Superstar Rajinikanth addresses media outside his residence in Chennai. Photo: PTI

After being criticised for his recent remark on Periyar, actor Rajinikanth on Tuesday (January 21) said he would not apologise for making the statement as he had read about the alleged incident on a magazine.

At the 50th anniversary celebrations of Thuglak, a Tamil magazine, in Chennai last Tuesday, Rajinikanth alleged that Periyar organised a rally in 1971, parading effigies of Lord Ram and Sita without clothes and garlanding them with footwear.

While speaking to the media on Tuesday, the actor showed photocopies of an English magazine printed in 2017, and said that he had made the statement based on an article published in it.

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Rajinikanth’s remarks on Periyar, had created an uproar among Dravidian outfits, including the Periyar-founded Dravidar Kazhagam, which claimed that no such incident had happened.

Leaders of Dravidian outfits say a member of the Jana Sangh, which was later succeeded by the BJP, threw a slipper at Periyar, who had led the rally. This irked a Dravidar Kazhagam member to hit the effigies with the slipper.

At the function, Rajinikanth also said the incident had earned the DMK, which was then in power, a bad reputation. However, the party saw one of its best victories in the elections that were held a few weeks after the incident. DMK had won 205 out of 234 assembly seats and 38 out of 39 parliamentary seats in Tamil Nadu.

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Reacting to Rajinikanth’s statement, DMK chief MK Stalin advised the actor to “think twice” before speaking about Periyar. “Friend Rajinikanth is not a politician. He is an actor. While speaking about Periyar, who has worked for the Tamil community and the society for about 94 years, Rajinikanth has to think twice before he speaks,” Stalin said.

Meanwhile, Fisheries department minister and AIADMK leader D Jayakumar asked Rajinikanth not to involve in any such research.

“No one is going to give him PhD for such research. It was Rajinikanth who recalled the 1971 incident, which no one remembers. But, now, he himself says we have to forget instead of denying it. He is contradicting his own statement,” Jayakumar said.

Rajinikanth’s remark has evoked mixed reactions from the film industry. While several celebrities are supporting the actor for his stance, many others have accused him of levelling false allegations against Periyar.