The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court Monday granted actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan anticipatory bail in connection with a case filed against him for his remarks on Nathuram Godse during a campaign speech in Aravakurichi, reported news agency ANI. Haasan, the president of the Makkal Needhi Maiam, had kicked up a row last week after he said “free India’s first extremist was a Hindu”, in reference to Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse.
The case against Haasan has been registered under Sections 153A and 295A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which deal with ‘outraging religious feelings’ and ‘promoting enmity between different groups’, respectively. Haasan had applied for anticipatory bail in the case last week.
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As several leaders and political parties condemned this statement, Haasan said he had only spoken the “historic truth”. He also claimed he had made similar statements in the past but it was now being taken note of by people “whose confidence was dipping”. Addressing the press, he added: “I am not afraid of being arrested. Let them arrest me. If they do that it will only create more problems. It is not a warning but only advice.”
Following the controversy, Haasan was pelted with stones, slippers and eggs during two rallies in Tamil Nadu. And his effigy was burnt in Nagercoil.
The Delhi High Court, meanwhile, refused to entertain a petition seeking action against Haasan last week, saying the statement was made in Tamil Nadu and required no cause of action in Delhi. The petitioner had claimed Haasan “deliberately” made the statement in the presence of a Muslim-majority crowd for electoral gains.
Bypolls to Aravakurichi were held on May 19, and the results will be declared along with the Lok Sabha election results on May 23.