• Tamil littérateur remanded to judicial custody for remarks against Modi and Shah

    Mukulika R

    January 3, 2020

    Tamil litterateur and orator “Nellai” Kannan (74) was arrested in Perambalur, a municipality in Tamil Nadu, on Wednesday, for his alleged remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah made last week. Kannan was produced before a court yesterday and has been remanded to judicial custody for 12 days till the 13th January.

    It is alleged that the remarks were made at a public meeting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at Melapalayam in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district last Sunday, organised by the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI). There was considerable pressure put by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the police following this, with its state leaders staging protests demanding the arrest of Kannan in front of house on Tuesday, as well as at Chennai’s Marina Beach on the day of the arrest. This was apart from its Tirunelveli district president A Dhayasankar submitting a complaint to City Police Commissioner against the writer. The sit-in at Marina Beach was led by the state’s senior leaders including Pon Radhakrishnan. The arrest is reported to have taken place immediately after this.

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    Kannan was arrested from a hotel in Perambalur and later handed over to the Inspector of Police, Melapalayam. He was then produced at the judicial court after being questioned for almost an hour at the Tirunelveli Armed Reserve Police Grounds in Palayamkottai. The writer is now lodged in Salem Central Prison, after the court declared him to be remanded in judicial custody. The cases registered against him include Sections 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 505 (i) (intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the state or against public tranquillity) and 505 (ii) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) of the Indian Penal Code, as well as Sections 153 (A) and 506 Part 1 of the IPC.

    The state of Tamil Nadu has been seeing multiple protests led by women, students and others against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC), National Population Register (NPR) trio. Apart from the university strikes and other political gatherings, the state was also recently witness to one of the most unique protests in the country.

    On 29th December, women in Chennai’s Besant Nagar took to the streets to draw “kolams” (traditional drawings made on the floor of homes with rice flour; largely considered auspicious, like “rangoli” in northern India) in protest against CAA-NRC-NPR. Around 5 women, including lawyers, were detained for the same. Started off by members of a platform called Citizens Against CAA Group, the “kolam” protest was then taken up by members of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). The DMK extended the protest to the entire state the next day, with its top leaders drawing “protest kolams” in front of their own houses. Tamil Nadu’s unique way of resistance was celebrated by those in protest against CAA-NRC-NPR in the rest of the country.

    Nellai Kannan will be produced in court on January 13th again, till when he is remanded to judicial custody at the Salem prison.

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