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Vaiko arrested on charges of sedition

S. Vijay Kumar

The law will take its course in the case: Karunanidhi

— Photo: M. Vedhan

In the dock: MDMK general secretary Vaiko, who was arrested from his residence in Chennai on Thursday, being taken to a city court.

CHENNAI: In a swift operation, officials of the ‘Q’ Branch CID of the Tamil Nadu police on Thursday arrested Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Vaiko here on charges of sedition. The MDMK presidium chairman and former Union Minister, M. Kannappan, was also arrested at his native village Alampalayam, near Pollachi, on the same charges.

Mr. Vaiko, who was arrested at his Anna Nagar residence, was produced in a city court and remanded to judicial custody till November 6. He is lodged in the Puzhal Central prison.

The party leaders were charged under Section 124 (A) IPC (Whoever brings or attempts to bring in hatred or contempt or excites disaffection towards the government) and Section 13 (1) (b) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (Whoever advocates, abets in, advises or incites the commission of any unlawful activity).

The charges are based on the speeches made at a party meeting on the Sri Lankan issue in Chennai on October 21. Mr. Vaiko warned that India extending help to protect Sri Lanka’s integrity would jeopardise India’s own unity and integrity. He said he would be ready to take up arms and fight for the Tamils in the island nation. Mr. Kannappan, who presided, warned the Centre not to force Tamils in Tamil Nadu to struggle for a separate country.

A general alert has been sounded across Tamil Nadu following the arrest.

Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said the law would take its course in the case. Speaking to a news channel, he said whatever had happened had happened as per the letter and spirit of the law. Asked if there would be more arrests, he said, “I do not know.”

All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Jayalalithaa described the arrests as political vendetta.

Director-General of Police K.P. Jain said, “A case was registered against Mr. Vaiko and Mr. Kannappan as their speeches could affect the nation’s unity, integrity and security. Whoever indulges in seditious speeches will be dealt with as per law.”

Just before he was taken into custody, Mr. Vaiko told The Hindu that he was committed to the unity of India. “When the country is supplying arms to the Sri Lankan government to perpetuate genocide against Tamils, it is betrayal of Tamils. So that is why I said if you supply arms to kill and annihilate the Tamil race, we are prepared to go and fight for the Tamils … taking up arms there … not against India.”

Talking to journalists as he was being led away by the police, Mr. Vaiko said he stood by what he had stated at the meeting. “I am not for violence. The alliance with the AIADMK is intact. We may disagree on this issue, but the alliance will continue.”

He said the Indian government was responsible for the killing of the Tamils in Sri Lanka as it was supplying arms and radar equipment to that country.

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