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‘Even a dog can get a BA degree today’: DMK leader RS Bharathi stokes a political row, was earlier arrested under SC/ST Act over ‘Dalit judges’ remark

R S Bharathi was arrested in 2020 for asserting that Dalits were appointed as High court judges because of the charity done by the Dravidian movement. He added, “after Karunanidhi became CM of Tamilnadu, the first Dalit judge, A Vardarajan was appointed. Seven or eight others from the Adi Dravidar community went on to become judges after that. It is the alms given by the Dravidian movement.”

Senior Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader, former Rajya Sabha MP and party’s organisational secretary R S Bharathi came under fire from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tamil Nadu state president K Annamalai for his remarks made during a protest his party staged against NEET-UG examination. The former claimed that the Dravidian movement was the cause of the ubiquity of BA degrees in Tamil Nadu and as a result, even a dog could now earn a bachelor’s degree. K Annamalai asked Chief Minister MK Stalin to take action against him for insulting the student community.

Kancheepuram MLA Ezhilarasan, the wing secretary of the DMK students, organized the demonstration named “No More NEET” where R S Bharathi alleged, “I am a lawyer BL educated. Ezhilarasan is BE, BL. All these did not come from a clan or gotra. If it was not for the alms of the Dravidian movement and communal GO, so many doctors and so many people with B.E degrees would not have come. When I studied BA, only one person in the town had studied BA. Then they will write the title on the name board outside the house. Now everyone in the town is studying for a degree, even a dog is getting a BA degree. Dravidian movement is responsible for this development.”

The controversial statement drew a strong response from the BJP as K Annamalai slammed R S Bharathi and charged that his remarks had insulted the entire student community and added it was wrong to portray that the success of students was because of some favour being done by the DMK. Furthermore, he mentioned that the DMK, which had opened just 5 medical colleges in the state was going around town claiming that it was responsible for increasing the number of doctors in the state. He accused that the party has only created people like R S Bharathi who insult the students who advance in life because of their hard work and the efforts of their parents but give credit to DMK for their growth.

Notably, R S Bharathi is notorious for giving contentious statements in the past as well. He previously claimed that the Dalits would never have been able to become judges in the state. He was taken into custody by the Central Crime Branch of the Chennai city police in May 2020 over the remarks. He referred to a judge and declared that the indulgence of the DMK leadership during the period of former chief minister M Karunanidhi led to the admission of numerous Dalits into the court.

“If Tamil Nadu remains the best state, it is because of the Dravidian movement. No Harijan has become a judge of the High Court in Madhya Pradesh. After Karunanidhi became Chief Minister A Varadarajan was appointed as HC judge. Seven or eight others from the Adi Dravidar community went on to become judges after that. It is the alms given by the Dravidian Movement,” he claimed while addressing an event in Anbagam (the DMK youth wing headquarters), but later apologized for his remarks.

He didn’t even spare the highest court in the country and charged, “Ava (Brahmins) have come back. I say with heartburn that the Supreme Court has become a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) camp. I am an advocate, but this is my grievance.”

He also slammed senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader H Raja and called him a “loafer” and then a “Brahmin dog.” He announced, “Had I not held a position in the party, I would have become a terrorist to take on these people (those criticising the Dravidian movement). People in other states are fools. Particularly, in North India they are all fools.” He even went so far as to draw comparisons between the media outlets and Mumbai’s “Red Light Area.”

He alleged, “They have a debate on this. These television guys are scoundrels. No one is as corrupt as them. They are running the channels like the red light area in Mumbai. Just because they are getting money, they raise anything (issue). The press guys don’t have any jobs. They don’t write anything when others do something. When (Arvind) Kejriwal hired Prashant Kishor, they didn’t write about it. Narendra Modi used him but they didn’t write. Many others employed him, but no one wrote. However, when he came to DMK in Tamil Nadu, they talked out of jealousy.”

The DMK leader also made racist and derogatory comments about the people of Nagaland in 2023 while attacking the governor. He alleged, “What is the governor doing? He just wants to create problems for the ruling government. We have seen so many governors, but what he does is create a fuss and drag us into a fight. He refuses to sign the bills we send. I addressed a gathering about what happened to him in Nagaland. They chased him away,” at a function commemorating the 100th anniversary celebrations of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK patriarch Karunanidhi.

He added, “Don’t mistake me. I am just quoting an example. The people of Nagaland eat dog meat. If someone who eats dog meat themselves has so much self-respect that they chased away this governor, then imagine how much self-respect Tamils, who consume food with salt, would have. The day he was chased away, the people of Nagaland celebrated it like Deepavali.”

Last year, he ridiculed north Indian labourers in yet another attack on the governor and in a public meeting claimed, “I had earlier stated that those who sell Soan papdi and Panipuri don’t know the pride of Tamil Nadu. I said this in a meeting. I came to know that many have come from Bihar and I think the Governor (RN Ravi) has similarly come by train. There is an old saying in villages, ‘Don’t count the leaves (banana leaves used as plates for feast), if you are asked to pick it.’ The governor’s job is similar to picking up leaves. The address is like the food on the leaves. You (Governor) are a cook. You should have cooked it and left it at that. If you plan to keep something, will the person who is eating be quiet? I’m not boasting. If it was Jayalalithaa’s rule, he (Governor) would have been attacked and that party men also would not be quiet.”

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