Eggs and slippers greet Kushboo

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Chennai
  • Published 16.11.05
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Chennai, Nov. 16: The culture police were in full force. They were armed, too ? with slippers, rotten tomatoes and eggs.

Some of the missiles landed on Kushboo’s car when the actor surrendered in court this morning.

Protectors of “Tamil culture” today showed the extent they could go if provoked as they vent their ire on the woman who had dared to “denigrate” Tamil womanhood and society.

“Down with Kushboo,” they shouted, “arrest her”, as the actor presented herself before a magistrate in Mettur following a non-bailable arrest warrant on a petition filed by a lawyer.

This was just one of the over 20 cases filed against Kushboo in various courts in the state in protest against her recent comment in an interview to a magazine that there was nothing wrong in pre-marital sex if it was safe. Second judicial magistrate Sridharan cancelled the warrant and granted her bail on the condition that she should not express any opinion on the case until it was decided.

Even as the proceedings were on, supporters of two parties, the PMK and the Dalit Panthers of India, and some fringe organisations kept up their cacophony. At one point, the crowd tried to break the police cordon.

“This kind of response is deplorable,” said veteran CPI leader R. Nallakannu. “If the culture police has their way, we don’t know where it will lead to. It seems nobody can even express an opinion.”

As the PMK is part of the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance in Tamil Nadu, “we have to consult all our allies and discuss what should be done”, the octogenarian leader added.

In Delhi, celebrities, including Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan and tennis sensation Sania Mirza, lent support to the actor.

“You don’t want me to tell you that you have to have safe sex, whether it is before or after marriage. Everyone must know what he or she is doing,” Sania said.

The PMK-DPI combine, under the banner of the Tamil Protection Movement, says Kushboo’s comment “denigrates the chastity of Tamil Women”. The outfits got a shot in the arm from an unexpected quarter recently when chief minister Jayalalithaa said Kushboo should not have made such a comment in public.

The culture brigade got a further boost when the South Indian Film Artistes Association took a strong line against Kushboo and another actor Suhasini, who had come to her defence. The association is headed by actor Vijayakant, whose deputy is DMK MP and actor Sarath Kumar.