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Kamal Haasan Controversy: Tamil Superstar’s Comment on ‘Hindu Terror’ Fetches him Backlash and Court Case

The BJP was quick to react to Kamal Haasan’s comment and called him a "wannabe MGR", signaling to his attempt to be like the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu and AIADMK party founder MG Ramachandran.

Kamal Haasan
Kamal Haasan's comment in his weekly column in the Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan has landed him in the middle of a controversy. Wikimedia

Varanasi, November 4, 2017 : Tamil Superstar Kamal Haasan’s remark on ‘saffron terror’ landed him in the middle of a controversy. In his weekly column in the Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan, the actor asserted that the right wing cannot deny the influence of ‘extremist elements’ in its cadre.

His statement not only sought him backlash from the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), but also fetched him a court case for ‘hurting’ religious sentiments.

Moved by lawyer Kamlesh Chandra Tripathi, a court in Varanasi will today hear a plea against Kamal Haasan, against his comment.

What is the Kamal Haasan Controversy All About?

Through his column in the Tamil weekly magazine, Kamal Haasan wrote that, “Extremism has spread into their (right wing) camp as well.”

He further elaborated his belief on Hindu extremism and wrote “Hindus are losing faith in ‘satyameva jayate’ and instead subscribing to ‘might is right’,” which earned him the wrath of staunch Hindu supporters.

Kamal Haasan’s controversial comment came in response to Kerala CM Pinari Vijayan’s question, who sought the actor’s opinion on the underlying communalism seeking to destroy the tradition of peaceful co-existence apparent in the Tamil Dravidian society.

The Kamal Haasan controversy also coincides with the superstar’s entry into politics.

Reactions to Kamal Haasan’s Comment

The BJP was quick to react to Kamal Haasan’s comment and called him a “wannabe MGR”, signaling to his attempt to be like the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu and AIADMK party founder MG Ramachandran.

RSS partisan Rakesh Sinha also took to Twitter and demanded Kamal Haasan to render an apology.

Colleagues from the film industry Khushbu Sundar and Prakash Raj however seemed to be in agreement with Kamal Haasan’s comment.

The actress applauded fellow actor Prakash Raj for voicing his opinion on the issue.

Case Against Kamal Haasan

Following his comment on ‘Hindu terror’, a case has been filed against Kamal Haasan in a Varanasi court.

The complaint has been registered under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in appropriation to defamation and attempt to cause offence. Additionally, the case has also been registered as an attempt to hurt religious sentiments and incite communal disharmony.

Kamal Haasan’s comment comes right before he is preparing to kick start his political career.

Kamal Haasan has been contemplating launching his own political party, and has been vocal about the same.

The Tamil superstar had previously met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in September this year and discussed his views on recruitment of “young, fresh faces” for the new party.

Furthermore, he had asked his fans to be ready for a “big announcement” on his birthday, November 7.


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Twitter India Finds Itself in the Midst of Another Caste Row

Some users pointed out that the official accounts of India's Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Ministry of Minority Affairs were not verified on Twitter

twitter, white swan, suicide, awareness
Twitter is a social media app that encourages short tweets and brief conversations. Pixabay

After Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey found himself in the midst of a controversy following a picture of him holding a placard saying “smash Brahminical patriarchy” went viral during his India visit last November, Twitter India finds itself in the midst of another caste row.

This time Twitter has been accused of discriminating against Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Other Backward Class (OBC) activists.

In a statement to IANS on Tuesday, a Twitter spokesperson said the platform’s “commitment to inclusion and diversity is fundamental to who we are at Twitter and crucial to the effectiveness of our service.”

“Members of marginalised groups come to Twitter every day to express themselves, shed light on important issues, and join a community of allies,” the spokesperson added.

The row started after the account of senior columnist Dilip C. Mandal got restricted. He later got back the account. But Mandal continued the tirade against Twitter. As others joined him, flurry of tweets followed under #CasteistTwitter, #JaiBhimTwitter and #SackManishMaheswari. Manish Maheshwari is the Twitter India Managing Director.

In his tweets on November 3, Supreme Court lawyer Nitin Meshram summarised the grievances.

“What is our grievance: 1. #Twitter India is discriminating against Sc-St-OBC activists in suspending & verifying their accounts. 2. Twitter lacks uniform rules & therefore, #CasteistTwitter suppress Dalit, OBC, & Tribal activists by unequal reference to its rules.

“3. Without @verified badge, Dalit, OBC, & Tribals are not authentic in digital world. They are vulnerable to fake, fraud, & clone accounts. 4. All stalwarts of Dalits, OBCs, & Tribals are denied @verified badge, whereas, pigmies of other castes have been adorned with blue tick,” he alleged.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

Denying the allegations, the Twitter spokesperson said it has “one set of Twitter Rules”.

“To make it clear, we have one set of Twitter Rules and we enforce our policies judiciously and impartially for all individuals — regardless of their political beliefs, religious ideology, professional position or background,” the spokesperson said.

“We have ongoing efforts to provide local market context when developing and enforcing our global policies. We extensively cover gender and religion (including caste) in our trainings, to provide reviewers with the local context they need to evaluate content. Our Hateful Conduct Policy prohibits behavior that targets individuals based on protected categories (including caste),” the spokesperson added.

Some users pointed out that the official accounts of India’s Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Ministry of Minority Affairs were not verified on Twitter.

Also Read: Xiaomi Confirms the Plans to Enter Japan in 2020: Report

“@TwitterIndia has not even verified Govt of India’s owned handle just because it is minority, tribal and social justice ministry,” said one user.

“As we have publicly stated on a number of occasions, our public verification process is currently closed. However, on a case-by-case basis we do verify people who are active in the public conversation on Twitter,” the Twitter spokesperson said.

“For example, we work with political parties to verify candidates, elected officials, and relevant party officials around the time of elections. We have a dedicated global process for managing these selected verifications,” the statement said, adding that Twitter has worked with various groups across India, including organisations focused on caste, to get feedback on their experience using Twitter. (IANS)