SRM Institute of Science and Technology's decision to confer an honorary doctorate to Vairamuthu during its annual convocation ceremony had invited much flak on social media. It has now been learnt that Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh who was the Chief Guest at the event has cancelled his participation.
According to sources, the Institute's convocation will take place on the announced date, but with another set of guests. It is unclear whether the decision to confer an honorary doctorate on Vairamuthu has been revoked.
The convocation of SRM Institute of Science and Technology is scheduled to take place on December 28 in Chennai. According to the invitation circulated by the University, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was to be the Chief Guest of the event. TR Paarivendhar, Chancellor of the University and Indhiya Jananayaga Katchi Lok Sabha MP, a DMK ally, was to preside over the event. Tamil lyricist, novelist Vairamuthu was to be conferred with an honorary doctorate in the event.
However, on Thursday evening, controversy broke around the invitation since Vairamuthu has been accused by around seven women in the MeToo movement. It was singer Chinmayi who first accused Vairamuthu of sexual harassment. Later, many other women too spoke up. Though Vairamuthu had not reacted directly then, he tweeted in October 2018 - "In the recent past, I have been constantly humiliated and this is yet another attempt at the same. Time will reveal the truth."
Several members and supporters of the BJP also tagged Rajnath Singh on Twitter, requesting him to boycott the event since Vairamuthu had created controversy with his speech on Hindu goddess Andal.
Following a barrage of tweets, it is understood that the Union Minister decided to drop the event and informed the university late on Thursday night. Speaking to TNM, sources from the University said that the event will take place on the scheduled date, but with different guests.