Rajinikanth gets a relief from Madras High Court when petition against him over his remarks on Periyar dismissed as withdrawn

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New Delhi: A statue of Dravidian icon and rationalist leader ‘Periyar’ EV Ramasamy was vandalised at Kaliyapettai village near Uthiramerur town in Kancheepuram district on Friday. According to the police, the face and hand of the statue, erected at the main thoroughfare, was found damaged early in the morning. It was later covered with a white cloth by the cops.

But as soon as the news of the incident spread, tension gripped the area and the police deployed pickets as a precautionary measure to avert any flare-up.

The police suspect involvement of a fringe group, probably in retaliation of the protests by pro-Dravidian outfits demanding an apology from the Tamil actor Rajinikanth for his comments on Periyar. The protesters claimed the actor denigrated the social reformer.

Speaking at the 50th anniversary event of ‘Thuglak’ magazine, founded by political commentator Cho Ramaswamy, Rajnikanth had accused ‘Periyar’ of disrespecting Hindu gods at a rally in 1971.

 

“In 1971, Periyar led an anti-superstition procession in Salem, parading the portraits of Sri Ramachandramoorthy (Ram) and Sita, without dress and slipper garlands. No one had the courage to report that. And, it was Cho, editor of ‘Thuglak’, who published them,” the actor had said, triggering a wave of protests by Dravidian outfits who demanded an apology from him.

Rajinikath, however, refused to budge, making it clear that he will not apologise. “I have said only what I have heard and read,” was his response.

The actor got a minor relief from Madras High Court when a petition against him over the remarks was dismissed as withdrawn.

When the petitioner and Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam (DVK) secretay Umapathy sought a direction to the police to file a case on the complaint against the filmstar, Justice P Rajamanickam said the petition should not even have been numbered. The judge also asked the petitioner why he was rushing to the high court without even giving 15 days time to the police.

During the hearing, the public prosecutor submitted that the DVK had filed the police complaint only on January 18 and has knocked the doors of the high court without seeking alternative remedies available.

With the petitioner agreeing to withdraw the plea, it was dismissed as withdrawn.

The police, meanwhile, detained nearly 50 activists in Salem when they attempted to take out a procession of Ram and Sita. The procession, without police permission, was led by the district BJP president.

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