May 15, 2019 | Story | No Comments
Bollywood star-turned-politician Kamal Haasan is facing harsh criticism and even calls for his arrest over his recent claim that independent India’s “first terrorist” was a Hindu nationalist who killed Mahatma Gandhi.
Haasan, who heads the small Makkal Needhi Maiam (People’s Centre for Justice) party based in the state of Tamil Nadu, made the comments at a Sunday campaign event, where he seized the opportunity to attack the ruling BJP party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing it of whipping up division based on caste and religion.
“I am not saying this just because this is a Muslim-dominated area,” Haasan told the crowd while speaking in Tamil. “They attack me for saying that Hindu extremism exists in India. I say that independent India’s first terrorist was a Hindu. His name is Nathuram Godse,” he said, in reference to the Hindu nationalist who shot and killed Gandhi in 1948.
“Good Indians desire equality and want the three colours in the tricolour to remain intact. I am a good Indian, I will proudly proclaim that,” Haasan added.
Critics were quick to slam Haasan for his comments linking Hindus to terrorism, with a flurry of calls on Twitter for the Bollywood star’s arrest for promoting hate speech. Some BJP supporters accused him of begging for votes by appeasing India’s minorities.
However, there were those who defended Hassan’s stance.
“So, according to BJP, Godse was a peace activist. Great,” said one commentator. Another said there was nothing wrong with calling the murderer of “the Father of the Nation” a terrorist, adding, “If you don’t want to hear words like ‘Hindu Terrorism’ pls stop saying Muslim terrorists either.”
Haasan’s remarks on political violence by Hindus isn’t the first time he’s landed in hot water. In 2017, the ruling party branded the actor “myopic and brazen” when he suggested some Hindu groups had embraced extremism.
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