Actor Rajinikanth said he will not apologise for his statement on Dravidar Kazhagam founder and rationalist thinker EV Ramasamy, also known as Periyar. This after members of the Dravidar Vidhuthalai Kazhagam (DVK), a splinter group of the Dravidar Kazhagam, had filed a complaint against the actor for the content of his speech made at Thuglak magazine’s 50th anniversary event that took place in Chennai on January 14.
Holding a copy of a news report in his hand, Rajinikanth on Tuesday said, “I did not speak on something that didn't happen. I've only spoken on what was reported. It was reported in Outlook also. Sorry, I will not apologise.” He was speaking to reporters outside his house in Poes Garden in Chennai.
On being asked if he denied the accusations made against him by a few that his statements were blatant lies, Rajinikanth said that he was speaking based on what he knew. “I have clarified that what I know is based on reports that exist. I have not imagined it,” he said adding, “This incident cannot be denied but is one that needs to be forgotten.”
On January 14, Rajinikanth had highlighted Thuglak founder Cho Ramaswamy’s rise to fame as a journalist. In his speech at the event, he recalled an event from 1971 that took place in Salem. Rajini had said that Cho Ramaswamy’s Thuglak was the only magazine to cover an event by Periyar in which “Ram and Sita’s effigies were paraded without clothes, garlanded with footwear”.
“Cho strongly condemned the event by Periyar immediately and Thuglak was the only magazine to do so. This brought a bad name to the ruling DMK who did not want the magazine to be circulated. The issue was seized by the government but Cho reprinted it and the magazine was sold in black. What was sold for Rs 10, was then sold for Rs 50 and Rs 60. Dr Kalaignar had (inadvertently) promoted the magazine in that way and in the next issue Cho had thanked him as its publicity manager…” Rajini had said.
Following his speech, DVK had accused Rajini of spreading lies about Periyar and had sought police action against the actor. Dravidar Kazhagam leader Veeramani had also slammed Rajinikanth for his factually incorrect statement and said he would lose his credibility in his political journey.
The incident that Rajini spoke of was reported in Outlook magazine in November 2017. The magazine in a story about how the media is routinely targeted by political leaders wrote, “The first stone was thrown by the DMK and its leader Karunanidhi in February 1971 when Thuglak, edited by Cho Ramaswamy, came under fire for publishing photographs of a Dravidar Kazhagam’s procession in Salem that had depicted Hindu gods Rama and Sita in the nude with a garland of slippers around their neck.
Karunanidhi had initially denied that any such denigration had happened at Salem, but Thuglak countered his claim with photographic evidence. Even as the police came to the Ananda Vikatan press to seize the copies, bundles of the fortnightly were flung over the compound wall and found their way to the market, where they were sold at a premium. The irrepressible Cho published a cartoon in the next edition that showed Karunanidhi as the circulation-cum-advertising agent for Thuglak for having created a demand for his fledgling magazine.”
Meanwhile, five members of a fringe Tamil outfit were arrested in Madurai on Monday for burning an effigy of superstar Rajinikanth for his remarks on social reformer E V Ramasamy aka Periyar. The activists of Athi Tamizhar Peravai raised slogans and burnt an effigy of the actor, accusing him of spreading 'false' information about a 1971 rally to defame ‘Periyar'.