Nation Politics 18 Sep 2019 Flayed for ‘ungrat ...

Flayed for ‘ungrateful’ Tamils remark, Pon Radhakrishnan backtracks

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | J.V. SIVA PRASANNA KUMAR
Published Sep 18, 2019, 2:01 am IST
Updated Sep 18, 2019, 2:01 am IST
Makkal Needhi Maiam leader Kamal Haasan sought to know if the former Union Minister had changed his mother tongue.
Pon Radhakrishnan
 Pon Radhakrishnan

CHENNAI: BJP senior and former Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan kicked up a controversy by calling Tamils “ungrateful” but later clarified that he had not meant the seven to eight crore Tamils but only those who played politics over the Tamil language.

 Amidst the rage over Union Home Minister and BJP national chief Amit Shah pitching for ‘one nation, one language’ on Hindi Diwas, the former Union Minister of State for Finance and Shipping stoked a controversy by saying “Narendra Modi is the first Prime Minister to have proclaimed that Tamil is one of the oldest languages in the world. He had said Tamil is older than Sanskrit and if we had any love for the language, we should have celebrated it for a year. Tamils don’t know to celebrate. Tamils are ungrateful,” Radhakrishnan told reporters here on Monday.

 

But on Tuesday after offering prayers at Sri Nagaraja Temple in Nagercoil (in Kanyakumari district) on the occasion of 69th birthday of Mr Modi, he clarified that his remark was not aimed at the seven to eight crore Tamils. Speaking to reporters he said, “I called those politicians who are using the words Tamil and Tamils for political motives alone as ungrateful.”

“People should understand that my statement was not a generalised one against the Tamils,” he explained. His Monday statement however drew spontaneous criticism from various political leaders in the State. Makkal Needhi Maiam leader Kamal Haasan sought to know if the former Union Minister had changed his mother tongue. TNCC chief K. S. Alagiri termed Radhakrishnan’s comment as “outrageous” and demanded an apology from him.

 

Asked about Radhakrishnan’s remark, DMK chief M. K. Stalin replied that he would respond to it during his party’s protest against the imposition of Hindi language across Tamil Nadu on September 20.

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