Chennai Police have filed an FIR against poet Vigneshwaran alias Viduthalai Sigappi based on a complaint alleging that he had insulted Hindu Gods in a poem he had recited at the Vaanam Arts Festival on April 30. Known also for being an assistant director to acclaimed filmmaker Pa. Ranjith, a case was registered on Monday, May 8, at the Abhiramapuram Police for his poem on manual scavenging deaths he recited in honor of the Dalit History Month, which was organized by the Neelam Cultural Centre. The complaint filed by a Hindu group appealed for action against Viduthalai Sigappi after his speech from the event went viral on social media.
Pa. Ranjith has issued a statement through his Neelam Cultural Centre pointing out that the viral video has been taken out of context. Taking to Twitter, the filmmaker wrote, "In order to express the seriousness of the manual scavenging deaths throughout India, Viduthalai Sigappi in the path laid out by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar recited a poem to highlight what would happen if Hindu mythological characters and gods descended into manholes. We strongly condemn the BJP, Hindu fascist organizations that do not understand the issue and the Tamil Nadu Police Department for filing a case based on their threats."
Sharing Neelam Cultural Centre's statement, Ranjith urged that the poem shed light on manual scavenging deaths that are happening across the country, while adding that it was recited to highlight the society's ignorance towards the issue. Ranjith stated that the poem sought to bring to attention such unfortunate deaths, while saying that it is the freedom of the creator. He said that the intention was not to insult anyone's faith or beliefs adding that the characters were depicted as gods instead of human beings to point out the blind eye shown towards manual scavenging deaths. The statement from Neelam Cultural Centre further claimed that threats have been issued to Viduthalai Sigappi in the past three days by a few groups in an attempt to turn this into a communal issue. Below is Pa. Ranjith's statement:
இந்தியா முழுவதும் தொடரும் மலக்குழி மரணங்களை கண்டித்து, அதன் தீவிரத்தை உணர்த்தும் விதமாக இந்து புராண கதாபாத்திரங்களை, டாக்டர் பாபாசகேப் அம்பேத்கர் வழியில் நின்று , கடவுள்களாக இருந்தாலும் மலக்குழியில் இறங்கினால் அவர்களின் நிலை என்னவாகும் என்று புனைவின் வழியாக கவிதை வாசித்தார்… pic.twitter.com/HSBvbJmKQT— pa.ranjith (@beemji) May 9, 2023