Tamil Nadu

Honorary doctorate for Vairamuthu on hold after Rajnath backs out


Vairamuthu   | Photo Credit: M_VEDHAN

Hindu outfits, activists object to honour

The SRM Institute of Science and Technology (SRMIST) on Friday put on hold its decision to confer an honorary doctorate on poet-lyricist Vairamuthu following strong objections from some leaders of the BJP, Hindu outfits and some women’s rights activists.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who was to participate as chief guest in the special convocation on Saturday to confer the doctorate, also cancelled his visit.


Hindu outfits were upset with Mr. Vairamuthu for having made controversial remarks last year on poet-saint Andal, the woman among the 12 Alvars. Likewise, during the #MeToo movement in 2018, nine women including playback singer Chinmayi Sripaada had accused him of harassment.

Sources in the deemed university said that the decision to not confer the doctorate now was made following the controversy generated over the event.

On Thursday, soon after the invitation for the special convocation began circulating on social media, opposition erupted from two quarters. Supporters and a few functionaries of the BJP and certain right-wing outfits appealed to Mr. Singh through social media to boycott the function, citing the controversy surrounding Mr. Vairamuthu’s remarks. They contended that the poet had hurt the sentiments of Hindus and hence the Minister should not present the honour to him.

Meanwhile, a section of women’s rights activists, including Ms. Chinmayi, pointed out the sexual harassment allegations faced by Mr. Vairamuthu.

SRMIST, reacting to Mr. Singh cancelling his trip, said that it had nothing to do with the controversy and he had to cancel because of urgent commitments.

However, CTR Nirmal Kumar, State president of the BJP’s IT wing, claimed that Mr. Singh acceded to the views of the State unit.

Later, the institute said Mr. Vairamuthu would not be conferred an honorary doctorate and the regular convocation on Saturday would feature T.S. Ravikumar, president, AIIMS, Mangalagiri, as chief guest.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 10:25:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/honorary-doctorate-for-vairamuthu-on-hold-after-rajnath-backs-out/article30416079.ece

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