Rajnath Singh pulls out from Vairamuthu event: Varsity

Rajnath Singh pulls out from Vairamuthu event: Varsity

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. (Reuters photo)

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will not attend the Special Convocation of SRM University here on Saturday to confer a doctorate on popular Tamil poet-lyricist Vairamuthu.

Singh’s move came after vehement opposition from various quarters, including state BJP unit, who pointed to Vairamuthu’s controversial remarks on Hindu gods and allegations of sexual harassment made by multiple women.  

Noted playback singer Chinmayi Sripaada, who had in 2018 accused the lyricist of sexually harassing her, was the first to take to Twitter to denounce the move to confer doctorate on Vairamuthu and question Singh’s participation in the event organised by SRM University.

The varsity is owned by DMK Lok Sabha MP T R Paarivendhar.

“The Defence Minister is conferring an honorary degree to Vairamuthu, named by 9 women so far for having molested them. Just reiterating - outing known molesters does no damage to them. Instead, I got banned from working,” she wrote on Twitter.

Soon, BJP members and other Twitter users began tagging Singh on Twitter, asking him not to participate in the event and confer doctorate on Vairamuthu.

Sources in the university confirmed to DH that Singh will not attend the convocation ceremony on Saturday, but the event will take place as planned with new set of guests. On whether Vairamuthu will be conferred the doctorate as planned, the sources maintained the plan has been shelved “for now” but refused to give a categorical answer.

Two Hindu outfits -- Hindu Makkal Katchi and the Hindu Munnani – also took objection to Singh’s participation and accused Vairamuthu of constantly “abusing” Hindu gods.

The lyricist was embroiled in a raging row in January 2018 when he made some controversial remarks about Andal, the only female avatar among the 12 Vaishanvaite saints.  

BJP sources said the Defence Minister took the call to call off the event heeding to requests from the state unit and other outfits. “Rajnath Singh honouring Vairamuthu who has been making controversial remarks against Hindu gods would have sent a wrong message. We are finally happy that he has called off his participation,” a senior leader said.

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