Aravakurichi (TN): Stoking a controversy, actor and Makkal Needhi Maiyam founder Kamal Haasan has said free India's first "extremist was a Hindu" -- Nathuram Godse who killed Mahatma Gandhi.
Haasan's comments drew sharp reaction from the state BJP, which slammed him for indulging in "divisive politics".
Addressing an election campaign here on Sunday night, Haasan said he was one of those "proud Indians" who desires an India with equality and where the "three colours" in the tricolour, an obvious reference to different faiths, "remained intact."
"I am not saying this because this is a Muslim-dominated area, but I am saying this before a statue of Gandhi. Free India's first extremist was a Hindu, his name is Nathuram Godse. There it (extremism, apparently) starts," he said.
Haasan said he was a "self-assumed great-grandson" of Gandhi and that he had come here "seeking answers for that murder," referring to Gandhi's assassination in 1948.
"Good Indians desire for equality and want the three colours in the tricolour to remain intact. I am a good Indian, will proudly proclaim that," he added.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state President Tamilisai Soundararajan said while
the whole nation was shocked when Gandhi was killed, none can, however, justify it, and pointed out that Godse was hanged for the "heinous" crime.
She said it was "strongly condemnable" that Haasan used the phrase "Hindu extremism" in a Muslim-dominated area.
"Though he talks of taking forward a new kind of politics, he also indulged in the old, mischievous, poisonous and divisive vote bank politics," Soundararajan said in a statement.
Earlier too, Haasan had triggered a row, when in November 2017, he took potshots at what he termed as "Hindu extremism," which drew condemnation from the BJP and Hindu outfits.
Aravakurichi is one of the four Assembly constituencies where bypolls are scheduled on May 19. MNM has fielded S Mohanraj from this segment.