Rajinikanth, who was scheduled to visit Sri Lanka to present 150 houses to Sri Lankan Tamils displaced during the Sri Lankan Civil War, has cancelled the visit following protests from pro-Tamil groups. The homes have been built by the Gnanam Foundation. Rajinikanth was also expected to discuss the fishermen issue with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.
With politicians like Thol Thirumavalavan, Vaiko and Vel Murugan urging him not to go citing political reasons, the actor has now backed out of the two-day long event organised by Lyca’s Gnanam Foundation, scheduled to take place in Jaffna, Sri Lanka on April 9.
Further, Rajinikanth has issued a letter to the public saying he wanted to visit Lanka in order to see the place where Tamils lived. He writes:
“I had been really looking forward to going there and meeting the people and had even requested a meeting with president Maithripala Sirisena. But my friends Thol Thirumavalavan through several media, Vaiko over the phone, and Velmurugan through a friend, had kindly requested me not to participate in the event citing political reasons. While I can’t wholeheartedly agree with their reasons, I’ve decided not to attend anyway.”
Gnanam Foundation had constructed homes for the relocation of the Sri Lankan Tamils as part of the ‘Lyca Housing Scheme’ in the Chinna Thampan and Puliyankulam regions (Vavuniya district) in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. According to a report in the Times of India, Raju Mahalingam, Creative Head of Lyca Productions, had asked Rajinikanth to be the chief guest for the event. Rajini had readily agreed.
However, pro-Tamil groups Vidhuthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi (TVK) carried out protests against the visit, alleging that Lyca Productions was based in Sri Lanka.
Clearing the air about his political affiliations, Rajinikanth said: “I’m not a politician, I’m an artiste. And like what Thol Thirumavalavan had said, I’m here to make people happy.”
He also said that if he ever got a chance to visit Sri Lanka in the future, he would meet the Tamils living there to make them happy, and to see the place that had been torn by war. Finally, he requested that people not politicise the visit.