V Gopalaswamy, leader of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, has said that he will gain politically whether or not Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa arrests him under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
"If she puts me behind the bars, as she has announced, it will give me a political victory. But in case she does not proceed with her stated intention, it will give me a political mileage too," Gopalaswamy, popularly known as Vaiko, told rediff.com from Chicago, Illinois, where he is attending an event organised by the local Tamil community. "Either way MDMK will gain," he added.
Vaiko, who accused Jayalalithaa of using her authority to curb the democratic rights and civil liberties of the people and opposition parties since she came to power last year, said that the chief minister does not realise the implication of using POTA.
"Jayalalithaa thinks that POTA is a potential weapon in her hand to silence her opposition. But what she does not realise is that POTA is a double-edged weapon," he said.
The MDMK leader said he has not done anything wrong by speaking in favour of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam at a public meeting in Tamil Nadu late last month.
"The whole world knows that I have been expressing my views about the Tamils who had been suffering in Sri Lanka for more than five decades and I have not done anything wrong," he said.
"At the meeting, which was attended by more than 10,000 people, I gave them the other side of the story saying that one violent incident [the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi] cannot decide the fate of the entire community," Vaiko said.
"I told them we cannot wash our hands off the Tamils with whom we have an umbilical relation for thousands of years and naturally, we have a bounden duty to express our concerns and express our solidarity with them," he said.
Vaiko said his aim at the public meting was to open the eyes of the Tamil people to what he called were the designs of President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who was bent upon destroying the peace process in Sri Lanka.
"But I came to know that this lady [Jayalalithaa] is very angry because of my public meeting," Vaiko said, adding that the chief minister is invoking POTA on the plea that the LTTE is a banned organisation.
"Of course, the LTTE is a banned organization, but my point is that I have not said that the LTTE should start a branch in Tamil Nadu or India, or it should be encouraged to play a role in India or any such thing," Vaiko said.
"I explained what is happening in the Island nation and how could I have done that without a reference to the LTTE," he asked.
Vaiko, however, said that even though Jayalalithaa has been trying to strangulate democratic rights of people and silence the press, she will not be able to intimidate him. "If I am arrested and put behind the bars, I will face it. I am a born fighter and I cannot be browbeaten," he said.
Stating that he will reach Chennai on July 11, The MDMK leader said he has asked his supporters to go for peaceful agitation.
Asked if he is frustrated that the Bharatiya Janata Party has not expressly voiced its displeasure over the alleged misuse of POTA against an ally of the National Democratic Alliance, Vaiko replied in the negative. "I will not go and plead with them to bail me out or say that they should come to my assistance."
MDMK leader Vaiko booked under POTA
Special police team formed to nab Vaiko
Police collecting cassettes of pro-LTTE speeches by Vaiko
Vaiko case: Centre puts ball back in TN court
Jayalalithaa threatens Vaiko with POTA
POTA threat political vendetta: Vaiko
Karunanidhi's Arrest: The Complete Coverage
Back to top
Tell us what you think of this report