Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) founder president and actor Kamal Haasan Wednesday filed an anticipatory bail petition in the Madras High Court saying his speech was about Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse only and not about Hindus as a whole.

Haasan moved the plea after the court earlier refused to quash an FIR against him, saying such pleas cannot be taken up as emergent petitions during the vacation and that if an anticipatory bail application was filed it could be taken up for hearing. It is expected to come up for hearing on Thursday.

The actor-turned-politician justified his ‘Gosdse is the first Hindu terrorist of independent India’ remark as nothing but plain historical fact and alleged that there were attempts to stop his poll campaign using this as a ploy.

Haasan had been under fire from the BJP and the ruling AIADMK with some demanding that the MNM should be de-registered by the Election Commission.

While BJP national secretary H Raja described the MNM as a poisonous shrub which should be nipped in the bud, party state president Tamilisai Soundarrajan had condemned Hassan’s remark as minority appeasement.

The MNM founder who resumed his campaign for the bypoll for four crucial assembly segments at Thiruparankundram constituency on the outskirts of Madurai on Wednesday, was combative in front of a huge crowd that had turned up.

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“What I have said is a historical fact. Truth alone will triumph. I am not afraid of insults and abuses. Having plunged into serious politics, I will speak with the same seriousness,” he said.

He asked his opponents to listen to his speech in Aravakurichi in its entirety.

“Those raking the issue haven’t heard the full speech. Picking up a part of their choice and convenience, they are targeting me. What I have spoken is the truth. I have not dragged anyone into a fight. If there are attempts to stop me, my cadre will start speaking and it will become unstoppable,” he said.

Hassan made it clear that he was neither against Hinduism nor it was his intent to hurt Hindu sentiments.

“Have I hurt Hindu sentiments? Will my family believe it?” he asked, taking on his political adversaries, especially the saffron brigade. “My principles are honest. Dare not to confront me on that score for you will face defeat,” he added with a smile.

He did not backtrack from his remark that had set the political climate on fire nor betrayed any fear about the cases filed against him by Hindu outfits.

Earlier in the day, Haasan’s lawyers moved the high court Bench at Madurai seeking to quash the cases registered against him in various police stations. It was submitted that cases have been filed against the actor in 14 police stations. The plea for an urgent hearing was turned down by Justice B Pugalendhi of the vacation court who advised them to file a petition for anticipatory bail.

The Aravakurichi police was the first to book Kamal under non-bailable sections (153 and 295 of IPC) on a complaint by the Hindu Munnani (Hindu Front), affiliated to the RSS. In a media release, Karur SP, V Vikraman explained that case was registered on the charge of fomenting enmity between religious communities.

Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition filed by BJP functionary Aswani Kumar, seeking a direction to the Election Commission to take action against Hassan.

Tamil Nadu Minister Rajenthra Bhalaji, who had called for Haasan’s tongue to be cut off, remained unrepentant, saying he would not take back his words till the MNM founder apologised.

MNM functionaries also filed complaints against Rjenthra Bhalaji in Chennai and Trichy.

First Published: May 15, 2019 21:49 IST