The Madras High Court on Friday dismissed a petition filed against actor and politician Rajinikanth for his remarks about social reformer Periyar EV Ramasamy after the petitioners withdrew the plea, PTI reported.

The petition was filed by the Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam, a splinter group of the Dravidar Kazhagam. Justice P Rajamanickam asked why the petitioners rushed to the High Court instead of going to the magistrate court, according to ANI.

State Public Prosecutor A Natarajan said they had approached the court without seeking alternative remedies. When the judge asked the petitioners if they would withdraw the petition, they agreed to do so, following which he dismissed the case.

During the 50th anniversary of Thuglak – a Tamil weekly news magazine Rajinikanth 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.

He said the Tamil magazine was the only one to cover this event, adding that the founder Cho Ramaswamy had condemned this. “This brought a bad name to the ruling DMK who did not want the magazine to be circulated,” Rajinikanth said. “The issue was seized by the government but Cho reprinted it and the magazine was sold in black. What was sold for Rs 10, was then sold for Rs 50 and Rs 60.”

The Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam had filed a police complaint on January 17. The complaint alleged that Rajinikanth spread misinformation about Periyar with the intent to malign his reputation. The complaint was filed under Indian Penal Code sections 153 (a) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief).

DVK leader Nehru Das claimed Rajinikanth had levelled these false allegations to enter politics. “Not even a tiny bit of this is true,” he had said. “He is only doing this to enter politics. He is trying to disturb Dravidam and Periyar’s movements.” Das had also threatened to surround Rajinikanth’s house and boycott his movies if the police failed to initiate action against him.

On Tuesday, the actor refused to apologise and claimed his remarks were based on news reports he had read.

Meanwhile, a statue of Periyar was found vandalised at Salavakkam in Kancheepuram district on Friday morning. Several political leaders condemned the attack, according to PTI.