Tamil actor Kamal Haasan has hit out at the policemen seen indulging in violence and arson during Monday’s jallikattu standoff in the state. As more videos emerge of police instigating violence, Kamal said that he hopes they were actors and not police, because they really have no other explanation.
The actor also took digs at the current government, especially Chief Minister O Panneerselvam. “We can almost imagine that if MGR was the CM now, he would have gone to the beach and joined the protesters,” he said.
Kamal was addressing a press conference in Chennai, a day after the pro-jallikattu protests ended in Tamil Nadu. Likening the people’s movement to the anti-Hindi agitations of the 1960s in which he participated, Kamal said, “There is an accusation against students that they protested only for jallikattu. This movement is not just about jallikattu. Jallikattu is only a symbol of a much larger discontent.”
“This agitation came after decades of various kinds of anger,” the actor said.
On questions about whether the protests should be seen as secessionist or anti-national, Kamal said, “Several leaders of the past have asked for a separate country for Tamil Nadu. Were they anti-national?”
He added: “We have to clarify and address those sentiments of secessionism today at the ground. Engage with them.”
Kamal’s statements come a day after widespread violence in Tamil Nadu as protesters and police clashed with each other on the streets. Several videos have emerged of policemen setting fire to vehicles and damaging public property. While the protesters have called off their agitation, Kamal Haasan says students should not lose momentum, and take this movement forward.