New Delhi: In a bitter attack on journalists, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) founder S Ramadoss threatened to “hack journalists” at an event in Chennai on Saturday.
In a video shared on social media, Ramadoss can be heard saying that several years ago he had threatened to "cut down" those who ask him questions about cutting trees for a protest.
The event on ‘Hate politics’ was organised by Tamil Padaippaligal Periyakkam. Ramadoss was a special invitee and spoke about his efforts to plant trees. During his speech, he narrated an incident about how a journalist from a Kolkata-based newspaper had questioned him about the PMK’s brand of protests by felling trees in the 1980s.
“I told him that I have answered this question a hundred times. You are asking about it repeatedly with a motive, which is to establish that Ramadoss is a tree-cutter. You want to ensure that even people who don’t know about this, get to know it now. So I told him – in future if there is any such protest, we will not cut trees. Instead, we will cut people like you who ask questions,” said Ramadoss, according to a report in 'The News Minute'.
Ramadoss followed up the comments by describing journalists as "dogs".
According to reports, Ramadoss's remarks attracted strong criticism from several journalists and forums. The Chennai Press Club Joint Secretary issued a statement condemning the "unprintable" language. “The media is open to criticism no doubt, but for a senior political leader like Dr Ramadoss to lash out in such uncivil and indecent language is highly condemnable,” it said. The union also sought an apology from him on behalf of journalists for his “irresponsible remarks”.
“The rightful owners of democracy, the people, are watching such speeches,” the statement read.
The Centre of Media Persons for Change also expressed its strong opposition to the comments and called for Ramadoss to be immediately arrested.