Rajini blames 'anti-social elements' for violence in Thoothukudi

Rajini blames 'anti-social elements' for violence in Thoothukudi

Actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth waves at supporters as he comes out of a government hospital after visiting those who got injured Tuticorin police firing, in Madurai on Wednesday. PTI

Tamil actor-cum-politician Rajinikanth on Wednesday blamed anti-social elements for the violence during the anti-Sterlite protests in Thoothukudi last week that resulted in the death of 13 people in police firing.

His comments turned into a political slugfest with Opposition parties, including the DMK and the Left parties, joining issue with Rajinikanth seeking to know whether he was labelling all protesters as “anti-social elements.”

The CPM wanted to know why Rajinikanth was speaking the BJP's language and whether he intends to mix politics with films.

During a brief interaction with the media in Thoothukudi after meeting the injured, Rajinikanth asked the government to follow Jayalalithaa-style “iron fist” policy to crush such people in the interest of the state, while alleging that pro-Jallikattu protests in Tamil Nadu last year also saw infiltration of “anti-social elements”.

The actor, who has announced his intention to contest the next Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, also appealed to the people not to protest against every project since closing down of industries would only result in youth losing their jobs. He also demanded action against “miscreants and anti-social elements” who attacked policemen and their vehicles during and after last Tuesday's protests.

While blaming the state for intelligence failure for not predicting that “anti-social elements” would intrude into the protests, the actor, however, rejected demands for the resignation of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.

“Only the anti-social elements and miscreants set vehicles on fire, attacked the district collectorate and apartments housing Sterlite employees. People did not indulge in violence and they held a peaceful protest for 100 days. It is definitely the handiwork of miscreants and anti-social elements, whose numbers have increased in Tamil Nadu,” Rajinikanth said.

“The government should crush such anti-social elements with an iron fist. On that front, I laud Jayalalithaa as she kept such people under check with an iron fist. They should follow her policy and keep them under check, otherwise, it will result in great danger for Tamil Nadu,” he said.

The actor also hoped that Sterlite Copper will not land at courts to challenge the Government Order (GO) ordering the permanent closure of the plant in Thoothukudi.

“If they (Sterlite) still go to the court to challenge the GO, then they are not humans. Even judges are human,” Rajinikanth said.

The actor also took a swipe at the DMK for boycotting the Assembly session and demanding the resignation of Palaniswami.

“Everything is being politicised...politicians think people don’t know anything. But people are following everything," he said.

"If we continue to protest like this, the industrial climate in the state will be affected. If we will have to protest we should approach the court and fight legally rather than protesting like this,” the actor added.

Political parties in Tamil Nadu alleged that Rajinikanth was toeing the BJP's line.

“Is Rajinikanth's speech that anti-social elements in Tamil Nadu have increased a reflection of Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan's statements that extremists have increased in the state?” writer and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi general secretary D Ravikumar asked.