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'A shot in the arm for MDMK'

By S. Vijay Kumar

MADURAI, APRIL 8. The news of the POTA review panel clearing the MDMK general secretary, Vaiko, and eight other partymen of all charges under the anti-terrorism law came as a pleasant surprise to cadres in the southern districts.

Mr. Vaiko, who was campaigning for the Lok Sabha election in Dindigul district, said the news was as sweet as Palani `Panjamirtham'. ``Right from the day of my arrest, I have been stating that justice will ultimately prevail. The Supreme Court already gave its verdict that the directions of the review panel would be binding on both the Central and State Governments,'' he told The Hindu .

Now it would be clear for the people of Tamil Nadu how the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, ``abused'' the POTA for political ``vendetta'' and to ``strangulate'' the voice of democracy. "I have been reiterating that my speech at Tirumangalam (on June 29, 2002) will not attract the provisions of the POTA and it was a mere expression of opinion. We were subjected to a 19-month incarceration for no mistake. Now the people will give their verdict,'' he said. The views of the POTA review panel would be a strong tool for the Democratic Progressive Alliance in the election campaign. ``At a time when the people are already bitter with the repressive regime of Ms. Jayalalithaa, this development has come as a shot in the arm for the MDMK,'' he said.

Partymen distributed sweets and burst crackers in front of MDMK offices.

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