Chennai/Tuticorin: A visibly aggressive superstar Rajinikanth on Wednesday blamed anti-social elements for the violence during anti-Sterlite protests last week that resulted in 13 deaths in police firing, and warned Tamil Nadu will become a 'graveyard' if there were too many agitations.
The actor, who has announced his plans to join politics, called for a Jayalalithaa-style 'iron fist' policy to crush anti-social elements in the interest of Tamil Nadu.
Speaking to reporters in Chennai on his return from Tuticorin, which witnessed violence on May 22, he said the "problem started" only after police came under attack from such anti-social elements.
With a visibly aggressive body language, Rajinikanth asserted that he would not tolerate assault on policemen, virtually reiterating his stand on this issue.
He had slammed the alleged attack on policemen during a protest by pro-Tamil outfits in April, when they agitated against holding IPL matches in Chennai till the Cauvery Management Board was formed.
The actor said that such elements had infiltrated the pro-jallikattu protest held at Marina in 2017, which again ended on a violent note.
Asked about protests in the state, he shot back, saying "Tamil Nadu will become a graveyard if there is a protest for everything."
Earlier, speaking to reporters at Tuticorin after meeting those injured in the firing, he said police and the Collector's office had not been attacked by common people, but by such anti-social elements.
Rajinikanth who last week held the government responsible for the deaths caused due to the firing, however, did not favour K Palanisamy's resignation as Chief Minister over the issue.
"The attack on the Collector's office and setting on fire (Sterlite) quarters was not done by the common people. Some anti-social elements infiltrated (the protesting locals). It is their handiwork," he said and expressed grief that 'this noble protest' had ended on a bloody note.
The actor, who gave away Rs 10,000 relief to each of the 48 injured persons, said pro-Jallikattu protests in Tamil Nadu last year also saw infiltration of 'anti-social elements'.
He had earlier announced a relief of Rs two lakh each to the families of the 13 deceased.
"The government should crush such anti-social elements with an iron fist. On that front I laud Jayalalithaa as she kept such persons under check with an iron fist. They should follow her policy and keep them under check, as otherwise it will result in great danger for Tamil Nadu," he said.
He also called for action against those who attacked policemen during the May 22 protest.
Thirteen people were killed in police firing on May 22-23 when violence broke out at the protest by locals, demanding closure of Sterlite Industries in this district over pollution issues.
On the opposition's demand for resignation of the chief minister, Rajinikanth sought to know how quitting could be a solution.
"If you demand resignation for everything, what (is the purpose)... I don't want to talk about that," he said.
To a question, he said he had "no confidence" in the state government appointed one-man inquiry commission to probe the violence, under retired Madras High Court judge Aruna Jegadeesan.
The actor said constant agitations may not yield solutions and added that one should move courts for redressal of their grievances.
Agitations often happen in the state, sometimes for "genuine reasons," he said, adding that people should be careful against being incited.
Too many protests could dissuade trade and investors from coming to Tamil Nadu, affecting employment opportunities, he said, adding agriculture has already been hit due to water scarcity.
The actor cautioned Vedanta Ltd, which runs Sterlite Industries, against moving court over the Tamil Nadu government's closure order of the copper smelter unit, saying "they are not humans if they do so."
"With so many deaths and injuries, they should not even think of doing that," he said, adding, nothing can stand before people's power.
Rajinikanth faulted the police intelligence for its 'big mistake' in failing to detect the presence of anti-social elements in the protests.
At the hospital, the actor spoke to the injured and was seen holding hands of some of them.
Earlier, speaking to reporters in Chennai ahead of his visit to Tuticorin, about 500 km from Chennai, Rajinikanth hoped that those injured would have "some joy" in meeting him as he was a cinema star.
His visit was aimed at consoling them, he said and expressed regret that his visit to Tuticorin had come at a very "difficult time".
His going there was his 'goodwill gesture,' he added.
To a question on the war of words between AIADMK and DMK over the May 22 incident, he said there should be no blame game on such matters and the focus should be on moving ahead.
Asked for his comments on Prime Minister Narendra Modi not reacting to the incident so far, he said: "The media is so powerful. Ask him, ok."...