The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on Monday granted anticipatory bail to Makkal Needi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan after a case was filed against him for a remark against Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin, Nathuram Godse, ANI reported.
While granting the anticipatory bail, however, the court reprimanded the actor-turned-politician and said that identifying a criminal with a religion, caste, or race would be sowing seeds of hatred among people, PTI reported.
Justice R Pugalendhi of the Madurai bench said that hate speeches had become common. “What was required for the audience, in the election meeting, was constructive solutions for uplifting the common man and not creating hatred,” the judge said. “Even if it’s a historical event, if it is not made in a proper context, then it is an offence.”
At an election campaign in Aravakurichi Assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu last week, Haasan had called Godse “independent India’s first extremist” and pointed out that Godse was a Hindu. Hindu Munnani District Secretary KV Ramakrishnan had filed a complaint, following which Haasan was booked for “outraging religious feelings”.
Noting prior cases of hate speech, Pugalendhi recalled that a woman had sought anticipatory bail for comparing Hindu god Murugan with a dog. A few months back, a leader had called another Hindu god, Krishna, a rapist and another leader had said that statue of rationalists such ‘Periyar’ EV Ramaswamy should be pulled down.
Pugalendhi instructed Haasan to appear before the judicial magistrate’s court in Aravakurichi and pay a bail bond of Rs 10,000 with two sureties each for a like sum.
Haasan has been asked to appear before the concerned judicial magistrate court in Karur district within 15 days to pay the surety bond, The Times of India reported. He told the court that the offence mentioned in his speech was about Godse and not Hindus as a whole. Haasan argued that he was falsely implicated.
Haasan’s lawyer told the court that the complaint was motivated and was not sustainable legally. He argued that the complainant had taken certain words out of context from Haasan’s speech, saying that no offence was made out either under certain sections of the Indian Penal Code.
The Tamil Nadu government opposed the anticipatory bail to the actor-politician and said 76 complaints had been registered against him, according to NDTV.
On Friday, Haasan had said that every religion has extremists and that he does not feel threatened by reactions to his remark on Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse. “Every religion has their own terrorist,” the Makkal Needhi Maiam chief added. “You cannot claim that we are sanctimonious and [that] we have never done that. History shows you that all religions have their extremists. My talk that day was about harmony.”
The actor-politician also claimed that the his comment about Godse was a “historical truth”.