Tamil actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth on Wednesday said no language can be imposed on people. He was responding to questions about Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s comment last week that Hindi was the only language that could unite the country.

The actor said that it would be good to have a common language as it would help the country’s development and its unity. However, unfortunately, it is not possible in India, he said.

“No language can be imposed. Hindi cannot be imposed,” he told reporters in Chennai. “Particularly, if Hindi is imposed, not only Tamil Nadu, none of the South Indian states would accept it. Even many regions in the North won’t accept it.”

Several politicians across India have opposed Shah’s demand.

Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan had made a reference to the home minister on Monday, saying that “no shah, sultan or samrat” can renege on the promise of unity in diversity made when India became a republic. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has called for protests across Tamil Nadu on September 20. Leader of Tamil party Paattali Makkal Katchi S Ramadoss claimed Hindi could “never be the identity of India” as it would deprive rights of other languages.

On Monday, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had said that all the official languages in the country had equal status and asserted that Kannada was the “principal language” in his state. Karnataka Rakshana Vedike and other Kannada organisations held protests across the state and observed a “black day” on Saturday. Congress leader Siddaramaiah said the “misinformation campaign” that Hindi was the national language must be stopped, and added that critics were not opposing the language but its imposition. Former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy pointed out that Kannada had equal constitutional status as Hindi.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also criticised Shah’s remarks. “The move to inflict Hindi upon them amounts to enslaving them,” Vijayan had said. “Union minister’s statement is a war cry against the mother tongues of non-Hindi speaking people.”

Many other politicians, including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MP Asaduddin Owaisi have also condemned Shah’s remarks.