The Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) on Monday granted anticipatory bail to actor and founder of Makkal Needhi Maiam, Kamal Hassan, who feared arrest for his remarks that Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse was free India’s first Hindu extremist. The actor was booked by the Aravakurichi police on the charges of promoting enmity on ground of religion.
Justice B. Pugalendhi granted anticipatory bail with conditions stating that Mr. Hassan was a leader of a registered political party and the election process was under way. The court took into account the entire speech delivered by Mr. Hassan at an election campaign in Aravakurichi, Karur District.
In his petition, the MNM founder said he believed in universal brotherhood and was for peaceful co-existence. He claimed that the crux of his speech was not aimed at hurting religious sentiments.
The speech was made on Godse and not on Hindus as a whole. Godse himself, in his book Why I killed Gandhi, had categorically stated that Mahatma Gandhi had acted against the interest of Hindus, and had blamed him for partition, Mr. Haasan said.
The Aravakurichi police had booked Mr. Haasan under Sections 153 A (promoting enmity between groups on the ground of religion) and 295 A (deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion and religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code.