Controversy erupted on Thursday over a private university's decision to confer an honorary doctorate on Tamil lyricist Vairamuthu at a convocation ceremony on Saturday. Notably, the event is scheduled to be attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. DMK MP TR Paarivendhar, the founder chancellor of the university, will also be present as per the invite.
Two Hindu outfits opposed the move and announced black flag protests outside the SRM University at suburban Kattankulathur. Indu Makkal Katchi and the Hindu Munnani announced the protest, with the latter saying it will stage a demonstration against Singh also.
The Hindu Munnani alleged that Vairamuthu had earlier made some controversial remarks about woman Vaishnavite saint Andal, following which protests had erupted against the lyricist.
Police complaints were also filed against him, the outfit pointed out.
Indu Makkal Katchi said its founder Arjun Sampath "condemns" the event, "and announces black flag protest in front of the venue on the day". The outfit has called the event “Hinduphobic”.
Vairamuthu has also been accused of sexual harassment by several women. The Me Too movement in October last year saw multiple women, including singer Chinmayi Sripaada, accusing the lyricist of sexual misconduct at the workplace. While Chinmayi has since reported the drying up of work offers and ostracisation by a large section of the Tamil film industry, Vairamuthu not only continues to bag big films but also enjoys the same social acceptance as before. In fact, he has been seen at multiple high-profile events with politicians and actors including Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth.
In a tweet on Thursday, Chinmayi said, "The Defence Minister of India is conferring an honorary degree to Kavignar Vairamuthy named by 9 women so far for having molested them. Just reiterating - outing KNOWN molesters does NO damage to them. Instead I got banned from working."
Vairamuthu had denied the allegations against him. He had also denied making objectionable remarks against Andal, even as he had expressed regret.