A day after Tamil superstar Rajinikanth called off his visit to Sri Lanka, bowing to political pressure, Lyca’s Gnanam Foundation issued a statement hitting out at Tamil groups. Rajini was supposed to participate in the inauguration of 150 houses built for displaced Tamils by the Gnanam Foundation, a part of Lyca Productions that is producing his 2.0.
In its press release on Sunday, Gnanam Foundation said, “We are saddened by the development of a negative environment surrounding the aid programmes of a charity to further the political gain of some elements. We do not want the Superstar subjected to an uncomfortable and embarrassing situation.”
Gnanam Foundation has now cancelled the event planned on April 9 in Jaffna following the actor’s decision to call off his trip. It will, however, still go ahead with handing over the house deeds to the recipients as planned on April 10, the statement noted.
Political leaders in Tamil Nadu like VCK’s Thirumavalavan, MDMK’s Vaiko and Tamilar Vazhvu Urimai Katchi’s Velmurugan had opposed Rajinikanth’s visit on the grounds that it would be a tacit endorsement of the Sri Lankan government, that continued to deny the rights of Lankan Tamils.
Responding to these allegations, Gnanam Foundation stated that reports of the organisation having a business relationship with the former President Rajapaska-led Sri Lankan government were “baseless rumours”, fabricated by their competitors.
Slamming Tamil Nadu’s political leaders, Gnanam Foundation went on to say, “The actions of some Tamil Nadu politicians who repeatedly speak out in support of those who are attempting to gain petty advantage by spreading rumours like these should be condemned. We suspect that these politicians are repeatedly spreading these fabricated and baseless rumours due to their obligations to our business competitors.”
“These politicians did nothing to alleviate the suffering and hardship of our people affected by the war and those languishing in refugee camps. The intention of Lyca’s Gnanam Foundation is to help these people by offering livelihood support and other assistance so that they can continue their lives with dignity. We have no political agenda,” the statement added.
The statement explained that Rajinikanth had agreed to participate in the event as he considered it an opportunity to meet Tamil people and “share his love for them.” Gnanam Foundation also pointed out that the superstar was eager to stay for two days in Sri Lanka’s Northern and Eastern provinces, which are traditionally Tamil speaking areas, and the event was an opportunity to announce other charitable projects in the region.
Gnanam Foundation’s statement comes a day after Rajinikanth issued a 2-page letter stating that he could not fully accept the reasoning of those opposing his visit.
He said that he had originally decided to participate in the event for two reasons. “I wanted to go to the place where so many people had fought for their rights and had shed their blood and breathe the same air that they had breathed. And I have had this desire for many days. I also wanted to see the lakhs of Tamil people there who have given me my life and livelihood, and to open my heart and speak to them,” Rajini said.
The other reason he wished to visit Sri Lanka, he said, was to speak to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on the issue of Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu being imprisoned by the Sri Lanka government and their boats being confiscated.
“I wanted to convey my grief about the risk to life and livelihoods of Tamil fisherman who go out into the sea for just one square meal,” he said, adding that he wanted to urge the President to find some solution to the issue.
Speaking to The News Minute, Thamizhazhagan, who handles the Rajni_FC Twitter page said, “We are with Thalaivar after his statement. But we are disturbed and upset that whatever statement he makes these days is becoming political.”
Hitting out at political groups who opposed his Jaffna trip, Thamizhazhagan says, “They are playing a political drama with Tamil people. Rajinikanth should have gone ahead with programme. The reason he is going ahead is for Tamil people and not for his own sake. He could have helped solve these issues by speaking with the Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and the Northern Province Chief Minister CV Vigneswaran.”