A complaint was filed against superstar Rajnikanth for his comments on Periyar at the Thuglak magazine’s 50th-anniversary event on Friday. It was filed by members of the Dravidar Vidhuthalai Kazhagam, a splinter group of the Dravidar Kazhagam. The Dravidian outfit claimed that the hugely popular actor had defamed Periyar when Rajnikanth reminded people that Periyar had disrespected Shri Rama and Sita Mata.
Rajinikanth had said on the 14th of January, “In 1971, at Salem, Periyar took out a rally in which undressed images of Lord Sri Ramachandramoorthy and Sita -with a garland of sandal-featured and no news outlet published it.” “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 Kalaingar had (inadvertently) promoted the magazine in that way and in the next issue Cho had thanked him as its publicity manager…” he had added.
DVK chief Kolathur Mani claimed that Rajinikanth had uttered a “blatant lie that the images of Lord Ram and Sita were taken nude to a rally, which was held as part of a superstition eradication conference in 1971 in Salem”. The DVK sought action against Rajinikanth under IPC Sections 153 (a) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.) and 505 (Statements conducing to public mischief). “If the government does not take action, we may be constrained to look into aspects including launching a campaign against Rajinikanth, his films, or we could hold protests in front of movie halls that screen his movies,” Mani said.
Subsequently, on Monday, effigies of Rajnikanth were burnt in Tamil Nadu by ‘activists’. Five of them were arrested in Madurai for the same. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Rajnikanth declared that he won’t be tendering any apology for his comments on Periyar. He said, “I did not makeup what I said, there are even published stories in media on it. I can show them. I will not apologize.”
One of the stories on the event was published by The Outlook on the 20th of November, 2017 in a report with the headline “The Tamil Gag Raj”. The report spoke of the legacy of assaults on freedom of expression and the press by the state government. The report said, “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.”
The report continued, “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 fledgeling magazine.”