Security was heightened outside actor Rajinikanth’s residence in Chennai on Monday after a Tamil fringe group protested against his possible entry into Tamil politics. The protestors, from the Tamilar Munnetra Padai, said since Rajinikanth was a Kannadiga and not Tamil, he should not be a part of Tamil politics, reported The News Minute.

“A Tamil should rule Tamils, Kannadiga actor Rajinikanth down down,” the protestors shouted. They also burnt his effigy on Cathedral Road near his house.

The police set up barricades on the road leading to his home and vehicles were allowed entry only after proper checking, reported IANS. Over 25 protestors were arrested under preventive custody.

Rajinikanth’s entry into politics has been at the centre of much speculation and chatter for years now. On May 15, the actor had hinted at joining politics and had said, “If god is willing, I will enter politics and keep away those who are money-minded and power-hungry.” Days after this statement, he had asked his fans to be ready for “war” when the time comes.

He had also stressed his Tamil identity and said he was a “Pachai Tamizhan” (pure Tamil). “Let me tell them that I spent only 23 years in Karnataka. The remaining 44 I have spent here [Tamil Nadu],” he had said. “If I am forced to leave this land, I will only head to Himalayas to be with the Yogis and not to any other state.”

BJP welcomes Rajini

Meanwhile, Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari told CNN-News18 that the Bharatiya Janata Party has an “appropriate position” for the iconic actor. “He has enormous support,” Gadkari told the news channel during an exclusive interview. “In my private conversations with him, I have told him it was time for him to join politics. While I have no meeting planned with him as of now, whenever he is ready, he can join BJP.”

Adding to the identity debate, Gadkari also claimed Rajinikanth was a Marathi. “He is a Marathi from Kolhapur and there is a huge photo of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj at the entrance of his house,” he told CNN-News18.