Hours after the Saidapet magistrate court refused to remand him in judicial custody, the Chennai Police arrested the founder of the May 17 movement, Thirumurugan Gandhi on Friday in connection with an earlier case.
The activist was apprehended by the police as he was coming out from the Old Police Commissioner’s office after an enquiry with the officials of the Crime Branch on Friday. As per reports, this arrest was based on a case against Thirumurugan Gandhi for organising a protest in 2017.
He was first detained in the wee hours of Thursday from the Bengaluru airport on returning from his trip to Europe to attend the 38th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which concluded on July 7, in Geneva. In the meeting, Thirumurugan Gandhi had spoken about Thoothukudi firing which killed at least 13 civilians on May 22. Various charges, including sedition, were slapped against him and he was brought to the Saidapet Magistrate court on Friday morning.
As per reports, the magistrate asked the police to clarify as to how a person could be charged for a speech given before the UNHRC of which India was a member. Though the investigation officer (IO) submitted that the case did not concern the speech at the UNHRC and that they had arrested Thirumurugan for sharing the Tamil transcript of his speech on social media with “intent to spark riots,” the magistrate said that he cannot be sent to custody for speaking at the UNHRC.
The magistrate observed that doing so would sound the death knell to liberty and rights enshrined in the Constitution.
The magistrate then gave the police 24 hours time to complete inquiry and release Thirumurugan Gandhi. He was taken to the old commissioner’s office for inquiry and when he walked out at around 5 pm, he was again taken into custody by the Chennai police.
In September 2017, Thirumurugan Gandhi, was detained under the Goondas Act for attempting to stage a protest at the Marina Beach in memory of Tamils who were killed in Sri Lanka. He has also been vocal against the proposed Salem-Chennai Green Corridor and the Thoothukudi firings.