BJP Tamil nadu unit chief K Annamalai
BJP Tamil nadu unit chief K Annamalai

TN Govt gives assent to prosecute Annamalai for hate speech

Annamalai had claimed that in 1956, former Chief Minister and Dravidian icon CN Annadurai was threatened by freedom fighter Muthuramalinga Thevar and that Annadurai along with PT Rajan “ran away”.

Tamil Nadu government has granted assent to prosecute the state’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President K Annamalai for his hate speech. The row began after Annamalai demanded the resignation of Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister PK Sekar Babu over the Sanatana Dharma controversy.

Addressing a protest rally in Chennai on September 11, Annamalai recalled an incident that reportedly took place in 1956 at the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple, where he claimed that former Tamil Nadu CM and Dravidian icon CN Annadurai was threatened by freedom fighter Muthuramalinga Thevar for his comments on Hindu gods.

The order sent from the Governor’s office, on April 25, said that Annamalai’s statements were pegged at “promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion.” The order further said that several national publications had published Muthuramalinga Thevar’s speech verbatim from 1956 from their archives which clarified that Muthuramalinga Thevar had only said that his blood had boiled over some remarks made by Annadurai. 

Annamalai instead, had claimed that Muthuramalinga Thevar questioned Annadurai for speaking ill of Goddess Umaiyaval at a temple event. "Annadurai went into hiding in Madurai because Muthuramalinga Thevar was angry. Muthuramaligna Thevar further said that if someone is a non-believer and speaks ill about gods, instead of milk abhishekam, there will be blood abhishekam at the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple. Annadurai and PT Rajan apologised and ran away," Annamalai had said.

RN Ravi, under section 196 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) accorded sanction to prosecute Annamalai under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 153B (b)(c) (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration), 505(1) (statements conducing public mischief) and 505(3) (exception- has reasonable grounds for believing his statement is true and circulates it in good faith).

Reacting to the order, Annamalai alleged the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) of trying to erase Muthuramalinga Thevar’s statement from 1956. He said, “Our message to the DMK Govt: You can’t stop us from exposing what is what. File as many cases as you want.”

It may be noted that Annamalai’s comment on Annadurai didn’t sit well with the BJP’s former alliance in the state- the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). Within weeks after Annamalai’s statement, the AIADMK announced that the party had ended its alliance with the BJP.

The AIADMK party leaders felt that the BJP chief was constantly targeting their late leaders like Annadurai since AIADMK is an off-shoot of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), which was founded by CN Annadurai, sources had earlier told TNM. Previously, in June 2023, Annamalai had also commented on the late AIADMK Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa by referring to her conviction in the corruption case leading to the AIADMK terming Annamalai as 'politically immature.’

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