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Kamal praises students for jallikattu stir; against PETA ban

Kamal Haasan

Chennai : A day after the pro-jallikattu protests ended on a violent note, Tamil film icon Kamal Haasan today termed the agitation as a symbol of “discontent” and lauded the participants for their “cohesiveness” and maintaining discipline during the week-long stir.

While criticising the police action yesterday, he said it  was a mixed bag for the students who hogged the “limelight” for making peaceful protests but also experienced “bloodshed” during the last day of the protests.

Addressing a press conference, he, however, disagreed with the demand for ban on PETA, saying it can be regulated.

Hassan, who had been vocal in his support for jallikattu and the students’ agitation, saying it was “absolutely legitimate”.

“You make a fun of this movement by calling it as a leaderless movement. But look into the cohesion of it. When you go to picnic you go with joy and willingness. In office, you are working for the money. You are looking at the watch to go back home. But (during the protests in Marina) no body was looking to go back home. That was their home temporarily. I am very touched by it,” he said.

Recalling that his parents did not allow him to take part in the anti-Hindi agitation in the 1960s, he said, “In this case (jallikattu issue), parents came along with their children because they felt there was some kind of logic.”

Referring to his interaction with the Chief Minister on the issue, he said O Panneerselvam thanked him for trying to maintain peace among the students.

Replying to a question, he said: “If you ask me whether I had made any inflammatory statement. I did not. If I had, it is time for me to apologise. I have been very careful (in my comments). Because, the uprising was legitimate for so many people. Something was right about it,” he said.

On the ban on the bull taming sport, which has now been lifted, he said more people die in accidents than jallikattu.

The top star sought a “reasonable explanation” from police for its action that reportedly affected women and children.

On the demand for ban on PETA, which had been opposing jallikattu, Hassan said, “I say do not ban anything, regulate it. Or why do you want to ban anything? It is a democratic country. Do not ban. Then ban (my film) Viswaroopam. Tell me what is wrong with Viswaroopam. Tell me if it is sedition. I will change it. Correct me. School me on democracy.”

To a question on videos which had gone viral in social media purportedly showing police personnel indulging in arson and beating women, he said, “Hope cops seen in the videos are not real”.

Referring to some comments made by his friends that he hates Pakistan, he said, “I don’t want to hate. I want to rub down the borders. We created the borders.

“If I had been born in 1924 instead of 1954, I would have been sitting in front of (Mahatma) Gandhi and asked him for more unity between Pakistan and India and not give them a separate State. That is my feeling even now.”

Haasan also had a special word of praise for women and children, who sat on the sands of Marina for days during the stir.

“You saw healthy happy Nirbhayas (fearless) sitting there amidst my brothers. If it is possible here, it is possible even in Delhi. I believe in people,” he said .

Referring to charges of police action on women, he said, “Why pick up women and children. It has never happened before.”

On the issue of corruption, Haasan said that over the last several years “people including you (media) in the society have become scientifically corrupted people.”

“Politicians do not come from Mars (planet). They come from amongst us. And we allowed it… We are the people who started corruption by paying 10 bucks to the TTE (Travelling Ticket Examiner) when we don’t have a reservation. So your leader will do it 100 times more of what you are doing,” he said.

Talking about compulsory voting, Haasan said, “I do not think this compulsory voting is a great idea. It goes against the actual tenements of democracy. You cannot force anyone. It is a choice. Not voting is also a statement. But voting is important.”

However, he said giving incentives for voting would only legitimise doling out money for votes. “That is my feeling,” he said.

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