Tamil singer charged with sedition for criticising Jayalalithaa

TIRUCHIRAPPALLI: A 54-year-old ultra-left folk singer and an anti-liquor campaigner of Tamil Nadu was arrested for sedition, the police said on Wednesday, after his song crticising the state government''s liquor policy went viral.

uttara@tribuneindia.com

Tiruchirappalli, October 30

A 54-year-old ultra-left folk singer and an anti-liquor campaigner of Tamil Nadu was arrested for sedition, the police said on Wednesday, after his song crticising the state government's liquor policy went viral.

'Comrade' Kovan, a Tiruchirappalli district functionary of extreme left art and literary outfit Makkal Kalai Ilakkiya Kazhagam, was arrested on Friday morning and brought to Chennai.

"He uploaded electronic content like videos, lyrics that were seditious, provoked people against the State, these were highly defamatory of the government, and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa," a top police official said.

"Such content had highly seditious, slanderous direct references including images, and lyrics, to the government and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa," he added.

"We are currently blocking such seditious and defamatory videos," another senior official said, adding the lyrics including 'Moodu Tasmacai Moodu' ('Shut down TASMAC') referring to the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation’s liquor vends were illegal.

The video was uploaded on some Tamil wesbites and later went viral on messaging platforms such as WhatsApp. Police claim the song made direct references to Jayalalithaa, police said.

"Such content had (some) slanderous references to DMK chief (and former chief minister) Karunanidhi too (over liqour vending by State).

Several voluntary outfits and organisations have been demanding a review of the state’s liquor policy and sale of liquor through the state-run TASMAC shops. Tamil Nadu witnessed a series of protests and demonstrations to demanding shutting down shops in July and August.

Other charges against Kovan are publishing defamatory content and attempting to incite violence.

A local court remanded him in judicial custody until November 6.

Meanwhile, police said another song 'Utthi Kodutha', also believed to have been sung, also contained “objectionable” references.

The arrest drew opposition DMK's criticisims, with chief  Karunanidhi calling it  "AIADMK regime's anti-democratic action" and condemned it. DMK treasurer MK Stalin accused the government of "unleashing repression" against those who fight seeking implementation of prohibition in Tamil Nadu. — PTI

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