Tamil Nadu Congress Committee chief KS Alagiri on Wednesday criticised actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth for his remarks about social reformer Periyar EV Ramasamy, and questioned why he was selectively quoting from the past, The Hindu reported.

During the 50th anniversary of Thuglak – a Tamil weekly news magazine the actor on January 14 said that Periyar had, in 1971, undertaken an anti-superstition rally in Salem in which the images of an unclothed Ram and Sita were displayed and garlanded with footwear.

Rajinikanth, who is facing a police complaint for his comments, had on Tuesday refused to apologise and claimed his remarks were based on news reports he had read.

Alagiri said Periyar had fought for social justice in a society that had oppressed sections of people for thousands of years. “While Rajinikanth quoted the 1971 rally in his speech, why did he not speak about the black cover page that Cho printed after the Babri Masjid was demolished and had severely criticised the demolition,” he asked in a statement. “Why did he not speak about the Thuglak issue brought out in 1996 where Cho had detailed the role of Rajinikanth and Cho himself in bringing about the formation of the DMK-Tamil Maanila Congress alliance to dislodge the Jayalalithaa regime?”

He asked why the actor did not mention these two matters and why he had spoken only about the 1971 rally in his speech. “What is the sectarian political agenda behind this,” Alagiri asked. “Will Rajinikanth explain?”

He said the Congress still has high regard for Rajinikanth and urged him to “not fall prey to sectarian forces”.

Meanwhile, security at the actor’s residence in Chennai was increased after threats from different organisations. Police personnel were put on round-the-clock duty, in addition to regular patrol teams and plainclothes officers.