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India's 'first extremist' was a Hindu, says Kamal Haasan

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

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".  However, the Congress and Dravidar Kazhagam, a rationalist organisation floated by Dravidian veteran, the late E V R Periyar, came out in support of the MNM leader.  Addressing an election campaign here on Sunday night, Haasan said he was one of those "proud Indians" who desires an India of 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.

BJP state President Tamilisai Soundararajan said the whole nation was shocked when Gandhi was killed and none can justify it, and 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.

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