Slapping sedition charges is not a new phenomenon for the Tamil Nadu Government, Kundakulam town in southern Tamil Nadu has the highest number of sedition cases in the state and perhaps in the country too. There are 21 sedition cases on 8,966 people and 21 cases on 13,860 people for waging war against the nation.
The latest to be arrested for sedition is Kovan, the folk artiste who sang songs against the State Government and rising alcoholism in the state.
Kovan, a folk artiste from the Makkal Kalai Ilakkiya Kazhagam, an arts and public performance group, was arrested from his house at 2 a.m. and charged with sections of the Indian Penal Code including sedition for singing songs against TASMAC shops. To read more, click here.
MK Stalin questioned whether such curtailing of free speech is reminiscent of the restrictions during the Emergency era.
DMK MP Kanimozhi, said in her statement, “It is clear that the AIADMK Government has committed a grave violation of fundamental freedoms in this case. There is no further proof needed that the AIADMK Government is against free speech, fundamental freedoms and civil rights. I strongly condemn this excessive action by the Tamil Nadu Government.”
She also said, “In the last four years, over 100 criminal defamation cases have been filed against media persons and political opponents who criticise this Government. But, today, the Government has gone one step further by arresting a folk artiste.”
Activists and advocates have slammed the Government for such regressive actions.
Speaking to The News Minute, senior advocate Sudha Ramalinga said, “The song actually does not come under the definition of sedition. It is not against the state or the government. It only speaks against prohibition. I feel the state is overreacting and our basic right to expression is being curtailed totally.”
She added that the state itself is becoming very intolerant to dissent. Dissent is something which is very important in a democracy.
“Sedition is a section in the Indian Penal code which was brought by the Britishers in 1800. Such a law needs to be removed from the Indian Penal Code”, she said.
SP Udaya Kumar, Co-ordinator for People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy said, “If you charge sedition for singing a song then what will you do to someone who acts actually against national security?”