Following the police case that was filed against him on Tuesday, director Pa Ranjith has sought anticipatory bail from the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on Wednesday.
An FIR has been registered under IPC 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and 153 (A) (1) (a) (promoting enmity between different groups) on the Kaala director based on a complaint by Ka Bala, former Thanjavur district secretary of the Hindu Makkal Katchi.
The director’s speech at an event organised by the Blue Panthers Party (Neela Puligal Iyakkam) to commemorate the death anniversary of Umar Farooq, its founder, at Thiruppanandal near Kumbakonam on June 5, created a controversy leading to the complaint.
At the Thiruppanandal event, Pa Ranjith spoke about Tamil pride and how people kept claiming that all Tamil people were one while failing to address caste divisions and discrimination. In this context, he elaborated on how there was a battle in Tamil Nadu to claim Raja Raja Chozhan as their own by different caste groups, include the Paraiyars (a Dalit caste). However, Ranjith said that he had no interest in claiming ownership over Raja Raja Chozhan because his rule was a dark period for his people (the Dalits), contrary to popular belief.
In his bail plea, Ranjith writes that his speech was not intended to divide people. “As chief guest at the event, I only spoke some of the truths about King Raja Raja Chozhan. How to remove casteism? How to create a casteless society? I spoke about all these, including the plight of landless people especially those from the delta regions mentioned in Umar Farooq’s Sentamizh Naatu Cherigal,” reads his plea.
Noting that his speech was being condemned on social media, Ranjith points out that several social reformers too have made similar observations.
“Our history calls Raja Raja Chozhan’s rule as a golden period. Yet several social reformers have pointed out that Raja Raja Chozhan’s reign was a dark time for the oppressed. The Devadasi practice was widespread in his rule. I’ve only spoken about the information mentioned in history books. Several others too have spoken about this. Yet my speech alone is being misconstrued on social media. I did not make such comments with an ulterior motive,” he says.
Ranjith further adds that his opinions are not against any community. “I only wanted to create an awareness regarding land rights. My speech does not intend to split people,” he says in the bail plea.
The plea is expected to be taken up by the court soon.