First terrorist in Independent India was a Hindu, says Kamal Haasan; Nirmala hits back

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Aravakurichi (Tamil Nadu): Makkal Needhi Maiyam (MNM) founder Kamal Haasan has stoked a possible controversy, saying free India's first "terrorist was a Hindu," referring to Nathuram Godse who killed Mahatma Gandhi.

Addressing an election campaign here last night, the actor-politician said he was one of those "proud Indians" who desires an India with equality and where the "three colours" in the tricolour, an obvious reference to different faiths, "remained intact."

"I am not saying this because this is a Muslim-dominated area, but I am saying this before a statue of Gandhi. Free India's first terrorist was a Hindu, his name is Nathuram Godse. There it (terrorism, apparently) starts," he said.

Haasan said he had come here "seeking answers for that murder," referring to Gandhi's assassination in 1948.

"Good Indians desire for equality and want the three colours in the tricolour to remain intact. I am a good Indian, will proudly proclaim that," he added.

Amid the row over Kamal Haasan's remarks, the BJP said Monday Haasan does not understand the difference between an assassin and a terrorist.

BJP leader and Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the actor-turned-politician was following the Congress and Communists in showing Hindus "in a bad light to appease minorities".

"It proves that he does not understand the difference between an assassin and a terrorist. An assassin is very different from a terrorist. Therefore if only he goes through the entire history and also follows up on the trial of Mahatma Gandhi he would know the difference," Sitharaman told a press conference.

She added, "He is in a hurry to prove that he follows the same line of appeasing minorities for the sake of his newly launched venture."

Earlier too, Haasan had stoked a row, when in November 2017, he took potshots at what he termed as "Hindu extremism," which drew condemnation from the BJP and Hindu outfits.

Aravakurichi is one of the four Assembly constituencies where bypolls are scheduled on May 19. MNM has fielded S Mohanraj from this segment.

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