Then for Vijay Sethupathi and now for Suriya: Reward politics and how it landed right-wing leaders in trouble!

Reward politics has become the latest weaponry of some right-wing leaders and their affiliates in Tamil Nadu and such leaders are using the allegiance of their supporters and party cadres and encouraging them to attack the rivals and win money. It's obvious that Tamil Nadu is in a state of worry over such blatant tactics being used to intimidate the dissidents and harm civil liberty. The state had recorded two incidents of reward politics recently that had given a sense of escalating hatred and fanatism. 

It was apparent that such reward-for-attack instigations have mostly come from right-wing people who claim to be the leaders of outfits. These two incidents were connected to actors Vijay Sethupathi and Suriya and these leaders are of the awful assumption that such politics would yield more fame from the majority community. However, the fact is that such politics will only land them in trouble and make them notorious, with a lack of political ideology.  What Suriya has faced was faced earlier by Vijay Sethupathi and the police have now filed a case against both the leaders who announced rewards for attacking the actors. 

Attack Vijay Sethupathi and get Rs 1,001: 

It was an offer from Arjun Sampath, the Chief of Hindu Makkal Katchi. It is still difficult to understand how he proudly came out and announced such a grim reward. Ten days back, the Hindutva outfit has made the announcement after finding a talking point through what has been alleged as an insult meted out by Vijay Sethupathi to Muthuramalinga Thevar, a patriarch of the Theva community. The announcement of rewarding Rs 1,001 for whoever kicks the actor has come days after Vijay Sethupathi was attacked at Kempagowda International Airport in Bengaluru. 

The outfit has also demanded the actor to issue an apology. The official Twitter account of Hindu Makkal Katchi said, "Arjun Sampath (the chief of the outfit) announces cash award, for kicking actor Vijay Sethupathi for insulting Thevar Ayya. 1 kick = Rs 1,001/- for anyone who kicks him until he apologises." The announcement had stirred outrage from the fans of the actor and the rival factions of the outfit with several people had extended solidarity to the actor and slammed the outfit for cooking politics in the matter.

A day ahead of Diwali, a man, named Maha Gandhi, had tried to attack the actor and his team at the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru. A shocking video from the scene was rampantly spread on social media in which Vijay Sethupathi had stunned to face such an incident that came from nowhere. Initially, it was reported that the attacker was under the influence of alcohol and he asked for a picture from the actor. He attacked the actor when he denied his request. 

After stopping him, the man was detained at the airport for questioning and in a series of interviews after the event, the man, identified as Maha Gandhi, has claimed that he was a co-passenger on the flight and he wanted to wish Vijay Sethupathi for receiving the national award. However, Gandhi said that the actor responded with a remark 'Is this a nation?. Maha Gandhi went on to claim that since Vijay Sethupathi is a native of south Tamil Nadu, he asked him whether he took part in the Thevar Guru Puja held on the birth anniversary of Muthuramalinga Thevar. 

Maha Gandhi alleged that responding to his question, Vijay Sethupathi said that only Thevan (God) in the world is Jesus. Maha Gandhi further alleged that after getting off the flight and collecting his luggage, he was hit by two people from the actor's team and he tried to attack Vijay Sethupathi in retaliation. According to reports, Hindu Makkal Katchi has announced a cash reward for kicking Vijay Sethupathi based on the claim made by Maha Gandhi that the actor had insulted Muthuramalinga Thevar. Arjun Sampath has confirmed that his party has made the reward announcement. 

But, no one has knocked on the doors of Arjun Sampath asking for the reward and ten days later, he has invited trouble as he is now facing serious charges for making such a threat against the actor. According to reports, the Coimbatore police have on Wednesday - November 17 registered a case against Arjun Sampath. In a press release, the police said that a case has been registered against Arjun Sampath under serious sections including 504 - intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace and 506(1) - criminal intimidation of the Indian Penal Code. The department has launched a further probe into the matter.

Attack Suriya for Jai Bhim and get a reward of a whopping Rs 1 lakh: 

This big reward has come from a leader of Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), the party that has been locking horns with Suriya over his movie Jai Bhim by alleging that the movie has defamed the Vanniyar community, the party's primary vote bank. PMK leader in Mayiladuthurai, A Palanisamy has announced a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh to anyone who kicks actor Suriya. It's unfortunate for him that he found no one to win the reward and in line with Arjun Sampath, Palanisamy has also been facing legal charges. 

The police have on Wednesday booked PMK leader Palanisamy under five sections of the Indian Penal Code and he is facing charges with some non-bailable sections. As the sequel of his threat, police protection was given to Suriya's residence in T Nagar, Chennai and Palanisamy had also stormed into a theatre in his locality and threatened the theatre to stop screening a Suriya movie. PMK and Vanniyar Sangam have been castigating the Jai Bhim team with their fallacious claim that the movie has insulted the entire Vanniyar community. 

Vanniyar Sangam has on Monday issued a legal notice to Suriya and the Jai Bhim team demanding him to pay Rs 5 crore for damaging the community. The notice was sent by advocate Baalu, a PMK leader, on behalf of Pu Tha Arulmozhi, the president of the Vanniyar Sangam. Besides Suriya and Gnanavel, the notice has also included the names of Suriya's wife Jyothika, who produced the movie under the banner of 2D Entertainment, and a representative of Amazon, as the movie was directly released on Amazon Prime Video on November 2.

While the PMK is running against Suriya, the actor has been surfaced with a wave of support from hundreds of thousands of fans, fraternities, and political leaders. Political leaders like Thirumavalavan, directors like Bharathiraja, Pa Ranjith, Venkat Prabhu, Vetri Maaran, and Lokesh Kanagaraj had supported Suriya while the fans have been trending the hashtag #WeStandWithSuriya. The movie has garnered an immense welcome and reception across and beyond the borders and poured more reputation for Suriya in his career and in his aspiration to bring a change.

Suriya has on Wednesday opened up for the first time since he got the legal notice with the demand to pay Rs 5 crore. Suriya's message of expressing gratitude for everyone who stands by with the Jai Bhim team has been going viral. He took to social media and wrote, "Dear all, this love for Jai Bhim is overwhelming. I've never witnessed this before! Can't express in words how thankful I am for the trust & reassurance you all have given us. Heartfelt thanks for standing by us."