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BJP worker accuses Prakash Raj of mocking ISRO scientists, files FIR

BJP worker accuses Prakash Raj of mocking ISRO scientists, files FIR

Actor Prakash Raj, Image credit: PTI

Bengaluru: A complaint has been lodged against acclaimed actor Prakash Raj in Karnataka by a BJP worker, alleging that the actor ridiculed scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) through a recent tweet.

In the midst of controversy, Prakash Raj clarified his intentions, stating that he was referring to an old joke about a Malayalee selling tea on the Moon.

The complaint, filed on Monday in the Banahatti police station in Bagalkote district, Karnataka, contends that Prakash Raj's tweet amounted to sarcastic mockery of ISRO scientists. In the tweet in question, the actor shared a cartoon depicting an Indian-looking man selling tea, accompanied by the caption: "First picture coming from the Moon by #VikramLander." The context was related to ISRO's Chandrayaan-3 mission, aiming for a soft landing near the moon's south pole.

The cartoon's interpretation led to a backlash, with some assuming that Prakash Raj was targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, known for his self-identification as a former tea seller (chaiwala). Others believed that the actor was making fun of K Sivan, the former chairman of ISRO.

Reacting to the controversy, Prakash Raj took to Twitter on Monday, August 21, to clarify his stance. He indicated that the tweet was connected to an old joke from the times of astronaut Neil Armstrong, celebrating a "Kerala Chaiwala" selling tea on the Moon. In his tweet, Prakash Raj wrote, "Hate sees only Hate.. i was referring to a joke of #Armstrong times .. celebrating our kerala Chaiwala .. which Chaiwala did the TROLLS see ?? .. if you dont get a joke then the joke is on you .. GROW UP."

The joke is a popular one which is about Malayali immigrants being present in all parts of the world.

The BJP worker who filed the complaint, Shivananda, articulated his concerns about Prakash Raj's tweet. He urged the authorities to take substantial action against the actor, asserting that the tweet was a "disgusting way to ridicule our scientists" just as the nation was poised to celebrate the achievements of the Chandrayaan mission. Shivananda requested the police to arrest Prakash Raj in light of the alleged mockery of ISRO scientists.

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