The Delhi High Court Wednesday dismissed a petition against Kamal Haasan for his remarks on Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse which created controversy and said that the petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay should approach the appropriate forum as the incident took place in Tamil Nadu. Post-dismissal, the court asked the Tamil Nadu Election Commission to consider the petitioner’s representation.
The High Court’s decline comes a day after Haasan’s party Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) issued a statement claiming that the speech was being circulated with a view to promote enmity amongst people. MNM said the party chief’s speech had “been taken completely out of context with a malafide intent”.
On Tuesday, Tamil Nadu police filed an FIR against Haasan for his “free India’s first extremist was a Hindu” remark during his Sunday campaign trail in Aravakurichi constituency referring to Godse. Due to the controversy, the actor-politician had to call off his campaign events for MNM on Monday and Tuesday.
— Makkal Needhi Maiam | மக்கள் நீதி மய்யம் (@maiamofficial) May 14, 2019
On Tuesday evening, the actor was booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings).
“In the speech, Mr Kamal Haasan was calling for religious tolerance and co-existence amongst all religious groups and condemned extremism in whichever form and religion. This has been taken absolutely out of context and the speech has been painted as anti-Hindu, with a malafied intent. This has created complete confusion and utmost anxiety among many common citizens who are not privy to this larger conspiracy,” the press release read.
Calling for a neutral and fair position on the controversy, the party urged media to play the entire speech in order to vindicate Haasan’s stand and to expose the malicious intent of certain groups.
Haasan’s statement was also condemned by various political parties including BJP, AIADMK and AMMK. On Tuesday, MNM general secretary had also issued a notice calling for the dismissal of Milk and Dairy Development Minister KT Rajenthra Bhalaji for saying that Haasan’s tongue should be cut for his remarks.
The party further clarified in the release that while it upheld the rule of law and the courts’ orders, it will continue to voice its opinion in this regard.