In a terrible display of insensitivity, actor-politician Radha Ravi mocked children with disabilities in a public speech during DMK leader MK Stalin's birthday celebrations on March 1. In a video doing the rounds on social media, Ravi can be seen equalling his political rivals to disabled children. Radha Ravi played out an ugly metaphor onstage, and the people listening to this crass speech were laughing. Egmore MLA Ravichandran was also present at the event.
In the video, the actor-politician who re-joined DMK last week can be seen making exxagerated facial expressions to accompany his mockery of children with disabilities.
āPremature babies - the ones who are born in 6 months instead of 10 months - their hands and legs get pulled, and their mouth keeps dripping salivaā he said, making crass expressions as he spoke. He then went on to mock such children for wanting to play with other kids, making fun of them at every step.
The āmoralā of his story was that Vaiko and Ramadoss - leaders of MDMK and PMK - were like disabled children who want to play with ānormalā kids.
Disability groups protested in Chennai against the insensitive speech, and raised slogans demanding Radha Raviās arrest. They held posters asking for him to apologise for his low remarks.
Activist Deepak Nathan said, "Comments made by Radha Ravi are absolutely derogatory and uncalled for. These politicians are not doing this for the first time. We are a group that's always been ridiculed. For a man of his stature, being a part of the film industry and making such comments is not good."
"The way Radha Ravi dramatically enacted differently abled people was so demeaning. Being part of a party who's leader is also on a wheelchair, it's ironic that he could make such remarks," Deepak added.
"It is a criminal offence to make fun of the differently abled and we will be filing a FIR against Radha Ravi in Teynampet Police station. Let this be a lesson for people in future who want to make such comments," he said.
DMK Leader Kanimozhi has meanwhile condemned the statements made by Radha Ravi. In a Facebook post, Kanimozhi wrote, "Radha Ravi should stop speaking about differently abled people in a derogatory and mocking fashion. Kalaignar's cadre will not accept this. Having disabilities is indeed a small obstacle. But it is when you're emotionally weak that it is an even bigger obstacle. The differently abled are people who have broken these emotional barriers."
AIADMK Deputy General Secretary TTV Dinakaran seemingly blamed the insensitivity on alcohol. He said, "He always speaks like that only. We don't know what he consumed the previous night."
This is not the first time that Radha Ravi has made crass and insensitive remarks. In an interview last year, he made misogynist and homophobic comments. āAn artiste asked a woman - Radha Ravi called you to his office, didnāt he? He said heās calling you for a movie and called you home didnāt he?ā he said, adding, āThere is nothing wrong with Radha Ravi calling women to his office. Thereās nothing wrong if a man calls women to his office. There is something wrong if a man calls men to his office.ā