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An unusually aggressive Tamil demy god Rajnikanth, today (April 4) launched...
(Friday, 4th April 2008)

An unusually aggressive Tamil demy god Rajnikanth, today (April 4) launched a vicious attack on Karnataka politicians accusing them of exploiting the Hogenakkal issue for political benefits.

Rajnikanth, who comes under the scanner here every time a water row breaks out with Karnataka because of his Kannada links, today accused the politicians from Karanataka of whipping up sentiments on the Hogenakkal issue because of coming elections and condemned the violence against Tamils in that state.

Flanked by another superstar Kamal Hasan and other leading lights of Tamil cinema including Vijayakant and Sarathkumar, Rajnikant, a Marathi who had his early grooming in Bangalore before becoming a superstar in Tamil Nadu, said the issue was sensitive and politicians resolve the issue amicably because it involved the unity of the country.

He made an emotional address winding up a day-long fast organised by the film industry protesting against the recent attacks on theatres in Bangalore showing Tamil films.  Every word of his was lapped up by a large gathering of fans waiting in the hot sun to hear him.

Rajnikanth's fiery speech underlined the strong protests within the Tamil film industry over the Hogenekkal issue as fallout of which Tamil films have been banned in Karnataka.

Rajnikanth attacked former Chief Minister SM Krishna, who he said had jumped into the fray because he wants to head his party in the coming elections, for his statement that Chief Minister Karunanidhi had made a harsh statement on the issue.  "An elderly faith man who I respect, came down from Bombay said that it was Karunanidhi who provoked that. How shameful is that?  Don't think that the public is fool."

"Speak the truth," he told him and also attacked BJP leader Yediyurappa of creating the problem by going to Hogenakkal, located in Tamil Nadu, and staging a demonstration recently.

"A leader of a big national party engaging in such an act is cheap," he said and appealed to other leaders like former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and his son HD Kumaraswamy not to politicise the issue because of the approaching elections.

Without naming Yediyurappa, Rajni said "it was a cheap act by a leader of a big national party and an election gimmick. I do not approve it."  The party's (BJP) Tamil Nadu unit is keeping quiet, he added.

Yediyurappa, who briefly held the post of Chief Ministership before he resigned following withdrawal of support by JD(S) last year, had staged a demonstration at the border town of Hogenakkal where a Rs 1334 crore project for providing drinking water to the parched districts of Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri districts  was being implemented by Tamil Nadu.

Rajnikanth wondered how Karnataka could oppose the scheme, waters for which would be used from the Cauvery running within Tamil Nadu. "Those who are raising the issue are doing it for the elections," he said.

"The issue should be nipped in the bud," he said, terming the opposition as dangerous to the sovereignty of India.

Kamal Hassan delivered a subdued speech, calling for restraint on all sides.  Apparently referring to Satyaraj's strident speech egging Tamils not to live like cowards, Kamal said "Tamils were an old race and should not afraid of these small events."

Supporting lyricist Vairamuthu's stand that the Centre should intervene to get Tamil Nadu's  rightful share of the Cauvery waters for the Hogenakkal project, Kamal said the issue should not affect brotherhood between the two states, "Let this fast convey a message to the Centre," he said, denouncing violence in both states.

While appreciating the strong sentiments of the some of speakers, Kamal said the issue involved crores of people and not a game played in a lighter vein. "I want Rajni, I want Kumble and I also want Satyaraj," he added.

Krishna reacts to Rajni's comments

Reacting cautiously to superstar Rajnikanth's comments, former Karnataka CM SM Krishna said, "Sobriety should prevail on all sides."

Trying to avoid any more controversies, Krishna declined to directly comment on Rajnikanth's statements. "Who am I to advise Rajnikant." he said.

Actors appeals for peace

Actors like Madhavan, Ajit, Manorama, Abbas etc made their presence felt at the fast. Stars from across the film fraternity made their way to the stadium, where a dias was placed for the stars to sit and express their agitation over the protests. Not just Tamil actors but, actors of Karnataka origin were also present at the fast, after a strict warning by the Film Chamber.

Tamil actors expressed agitation over the Hogenakkal issue. Actress Khusboo, who was present at the fast said that she is upset with the entire issue. She added that everytime there is an issue over any Water Project, the Tamil Film Fraternity is affected first.

Tamil actor R Madhavan also expressed himself and said, "I hope this issue ends peacefully where both the states are happy with the ultimate decision. I am here to show solidarity for the cause."

Speaking at the protest was also Tamil superstar -- Prabhu who made a strong statement supporting the Tamil cause over the issue. He strongly protested the attacks that took place on Tamilm movies in Bangalore. He said, "It is sad that Tamilians are being targeted by Karnataka."

Upset with the entire row over the Hogenakkal issue, actor Vijay said that the issue must get over as soon as possible and the on-going violence must be curbed. He said, "These riots and strikes should not happen anymore in Tamil Nadu."

Superstar Surya, who was also present at the rally said that this violence is affecting the common people. He expressed grief and said that a solution must be arrived at and no one will tolerate these protests on screening of Tamil movies in Karnataka. He said, "It is sad that this dispute has brought about such enmity with our neighbours."

Also expressing her protest was actress Sneha who said, "This dispute has a bad effect on the Tamil Film Industry, so it must be resolved soon."

In Bangalore

The Karnataka film industry today (April 4) came to a halt with members of the film fraternity suspending production activity for the day and staging a protest in response to a bandh call given by the Karnataka Film Chambers of Commerce (KFCC).

The call for suspending operations and staging a dharna was given by the KFCC at a meeting here last evening to express solidarity with pro-Kannada activists on the Hogenakkal issue. Those who took part in the protest included film personalities Ganesh, Darshan, Jaggesh, Upendra, Ravi Chandra, Tara, Ramya. Family members of late actor Rajkumar including Parvathamm Rajkumar, actor sons Puneet and Raghavendra were also present.

Puneet urged the people not to take law and order into their hands and to desist from any violence during the protest. He further urged that the protest must remain peaceful and non-violent. Actors like Ganesh said the industry had always been with the masses and would always extend their support to issues pertaining to the people of the state. Scores of fans gathered outside the Town Hall here and cheered the stars as they spoke on the issue. Police maintained strict security to prevent any untoward incidents.

Tamil Actors fast in protest of on-going attacks by pro-Kannada groups

The South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce (SIFCC) earlier asked every artist within the South-Indian film fraternity to be a part of this one-day fast, in protest to the on-going attacks by pro-Kannada groups on cinemas screening Tamil movies in Bangalore and Karnataka's stand on the Hogenakkal issue. Caught in the Tamil-Kannada crossfire, Rajinikanth, a Maharashtrian of Karnataka origin had faced flak in 2002, when he failed to attend a similar fast organised by the film industry on the Cauvery row.

The Film Chamber had warned that Tamil actors of even Karnataka origin will have to participate. Non-compliance would lead to non-cooperation from the industry. Gangadharan earlier added, "It is not a question of being a Kannadiga or origin of other state. Whoever associated with the Tamil film industry, irrespective of their origin, should participate in the fast."

(With inputs from PTI)

Source : www.timesnow.tv

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