New Delhi, Apr.7 : Tamil cinema superstar Rajnikanth today rebutted charges that he had insulted the people of Karnataka in a speech delivered a couple of days ago in the context of the conflict over the Hogenakkal water project between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Rajnikanth had said: "Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have had a clear agreement made over their borders surrounding Hogenakkal 50 years ago. And when we plan to take water that is on our side and someone raises an objection, should not they be kicked?"
To defend himself, he said, 'My comments were misconstrued.'
"When I said you should kick them, I meant those miscreants who were trying to disrupt peace by torching buses and stopping film screening. Shouldn't we kick them? I haven't done anything wrong. But I am not averse to tendering an apology, if I have committed any wrong," added Rajnikant.
The actor's comments on Friday resulted in a protest by some pro-Kannada groups who called for a ban of his movies in the State, claiming he had insulted the people of Karnataka.
Tamil film personalities conveyed their support to the State Government for the ongoing dispute with the Karnataka Government over the project. Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has said that the issue will now be taken up after the Assembly elections in Karnataka in May.
Earlier, Krishna and Union Shipping Minister T.R Baalu met Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh separately to seek the Central Government's intervention on the issue.
Krishna urged the Prime Minister to convince the Tamil Nadu Government to postpone operationalisation of the project till the ensuing polls in Karnataka.
Baalu, on the other hand, said Karnataka should have no objection to the drinking water project that is coming up on Tamil Nadu's border with Karnataka. He also claimed that the Centre had given a no-objection certificate to the project as far back as 1998, and described its obstruction by vested interests in Karnataka as deplorable. A recent statement by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi over the project undertaken by his government has evoked strong protests in Karnataka.
Krishna alleged that Karunanidhi had used some harsh language against the people of Karnataka. However, Karunanidhi denied this allegation. The Rs.1334-crore Hogenakkal drinking water project is expected to provide water supply for the people in Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri Districts.
Hogenakkal, a beautiful natural boundary between the two states is fast becoming an election issue.
The project is located on the 64 kilometres long Palar River, which flows through the thick forest of Chamarajnagar and joins with the Cauvery River. While northern bank belongs to Tamilnadu, the southern bank falls in Karnataka.