Free Press Journal

Rajinikanth cancels Sri Lanka trip after protest


Chennai : Tamil film superstar Rajinikanth on Saturday gave in to political pressure from small political parties in Tamil Nadu and called off his proposed visit to Sri Lanka where he was scheduled to hand over 150 houses to displaced ethnic Tamils.

The actor was scheduled to visit Jaffna, a Tamil-dominated area in the neighbouring Island Nation, on April 9 and 10.

Political party leaders including MDMK leader Vaiko, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi leader Thol Thirumavalavan and Tamizhar Vazhvurimai Katchi founder Panruti Velmurugan had opposed the actor’s event in Sri Lanka on the grounds that the Sinhala-majority country had indulged in ethnic cleansing of Tamils during the Eelam War-IV.

In a three-page statement, Rajinikanth said Vaiko had on phone urged him not to go to Sri Lanka, while Thirumavalavan had conveyed his views through media outlets and Velmurugan had sent across a message to him through friends. “They conveyed to me various political reasons and urged me to stay away from the function. Though, I could not wholeheartedly concur with their views, I have decided not to attend the event as per their request,” he said in the statement.

“After fulfilling my desire (of visiting Sri Lanka), I was eagerly waiting to meet the people there and have an open talk with them. I also intended to meet the Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and take up with him the emotional issue of Tamil fishermen (being attacked there),” he claimed.

Besides, handing over the keys of the newly built houses, he said, his original programme included handing over a Research Building Fund to the Jaffna University, a Tamil institution.

“I am not a politician but an artiste whose duty is to entertain the people. If in the future I get the privilege of going to that divine soil and entertain the people there, kindly do not politicise it. This is my humble request,” Rajinikanth told the politicians.