Following Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's letter to Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani, the Tamil Nadu police on Thursday brought formal charges under the Prevention of Terrorism Act against Marumalarchi Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam chief Vaiko and nine others for their pro- Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam speeches.
Acting on a complaint by the Tirumangalam town police, the Superintendent of Police in Madurai district, Thangavelu, charged them under POTA and the Indian Penal Code for inciting crime and
unlawful activities through their public speeches of June 29.
Apart from Vaiko, who was in the US attending functions organised by local Tamil organisations, the list included local MDMK functionaries Veera Ilavarasan, Bhoominathan, Azhagusundaram, Sivanthiappan, P S Manian and Ganesamurthy, who represents the Erode constituency in the Lok Sabha.
The MDMK leader would come to India on July 12, two days before schedule.
On Wednesday, Vaiko had issued a statement describing Jayalalithaa's letter to Advani as 'politically motivated' and said he would continue to support the LTTE.
This, it was felt, challenged the authority of the state government and made a mockery of the laws passed by Parliament.
Earlier in the day, state Home Secretary Naresh Gupta returned from a visit to New Delhi.
Gupta claimed that his visit had nothing to do with the Vaiko case, "which is being handled by the chief minister directly".
The day-long visit pertained to modernisation of the state police
force, he claimed.
Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president E V K S Elangovan welcomed the government's action against Vaiko.
Talking to newsmen in Virudunagar, he said the action, if at all, had come late.
He wondered why the government had not arrested Vaiko when he had been defending the LTTE from various public platforms.
Similar sentiments were expressed by the Tamil Maanila Congress and Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy.
The Dravidar Kazhagam general secretary, K Veeramani, said in a statement that the state government's request to the Centre for detaining Vaiko under POTA could generate controversy.
"The state government's move should not end up being interpreted
as 'political misuse' of POTA," he said, adding, "speaking in favour of LTTE alone would not amount to violation of law. It should go beyond that to incite violence, which is not the case with Vaiko."
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