Wednesday, Nov 19, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
With the Supreme Court issuing the order, the people's confidence in the judiciary would grow further.
Mr. Vaiko recalled that it was in Karnataka that the Chief Minister "launched" her police force in an attempt at arresting five members of The Hindu and editor of Murasoli. Also, she initiated a move to table a resolution seeking dismissal of the Karnataka Government for refusing to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.
The MDMK leader today wrote to the Election Commission complaining of "arbitrary and unwarranted action" by the Chief Election Officer to reduce polling booths. The decision was unilateral and opposition parties were not given opportunity to express their grievances. The Government should facilitate easy access to voters to booths, increasing the number of stations proportionately. "Hence, I request the Chief Election Commission to intervene and stop it," Mr. Vaiko and seven other MDMK leaders, detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, were brought to the Poonamallee special court near here for cross-examination of witnesses. The prosecution listed 115 witnesses, a majority of them government servants. After nearly a month-long exercise, only three witnesses have been examined so far. The examination of the fourth, Palanivel, a head constable, is in progress.
The defence counsel, K.S.Dinakaran and G.Devadoss, continued questioning of Mr.Palanivel on the statement that he gave to the court. Answering questions from 10-45 am to 1-35 pm, the witness said he knew that speaking in support of a banned organisation was wrong. But neither he nor his superiors, who were present at the Tirumangalam meeting, intervened to stop the speeches. Also, he did not bring to the notice of his superiors the need to intervene. Nor was he aware of who headed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who founded it and what it stood for. Mr. Palanivel admitted that he did not carry a pocket diary to the meeting.
As the session came to a close, the SPP, Jayakumar, refused to accept an adjournment of trial till Monday. The defence requested that as related cases would come up in the Madras High Court on Wednesday, the proceedings could be adjourned till Monday. He produced a Supreme Court ruling to support his case. The special judge, L.Rajendran, wanted both parties to arrive at a consensus. As it did not come about, he posted the trial for Wednesday noon.
Protest in front of court
District unit functionaries of the MDMK, present in large numbers at the entrance to the court covered their mouths with black cloth, protesting against the police denying permission to Mr.Vaiko to have his lunch in the court and against their highhanded behaviour towards the press. They alleged that Mr.Vaiko was not given food until he reached the Vellore prison.
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