Arrested Tamil movie directors remanded in judicial custody

October 25th, 2008 - 7:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Ramanathapuram (Tamil Nadu), Oct 25 (IANS) Tamil movie directors Seeman and Ameer, arrested on charges of sedition, were Saturday remanded in judicial custody till Nov 9 after they had been charged with supporting an armed struggle for an independent Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka.Magistrate N. Thangavel rejected bail petitions moved by the duo and informed them that it could be moved in the sessions’ court after Oct 28.

The two were arrested Friday in Chennai for making allegedly seditious speeches Oct 19 in Rameshwaram, 50 km south of here, to protest the alleged killings of Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka.

The directors’ custody was protested by over 300 assistant directors in Chennai. They also briefly courted arrest, police sources said.

Assistant directors kept off work to register their opposition, a press statement issued by their association said.

One of the office bearers of the body, Marudu Pandian, criticised the arrests and demanded the immediate release of Seeman and Ameer.

“The entire film industry comprising actors, lyricists, cinematographers, distributors and producers took part in the demonstration Oct 19 to protest against the killings of Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka. The arrested directors should be released immediately,” said Pandian.

VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan termed the arrests as a “blatant denial of democratic rights to openly express one’s opinion”.

“We condemn the arrests which are no doubut a blatant denial of assured democratic rights to express one’s opinion. Not only should Seeman and Ameer be released immediately, but also, as a mark of respect to the innumerable Tamils killed in Sri Lanka, people in India should avoid celebrating Diwali this year,” Thirumavalavan said in a statement.

The Tamil Nadu unit of the Congress, however, welcomed the arrests of “anti-national elements in the film industry”.

“The government has shown courage in arresting anti-national elements in the film industry. Politicians like VCK leader Thirumavalavan who have a similar disposition should be arrested as well,” said C. Ganasekharan, Congress legislator, during an agitation in Vellore to protest Friday’s damage to a statue of Rajiv Gandhi in Chennai.

“The nation is facing serious danger because the killers of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi are being eulogised openly in Tamil Nadu,” he said.

Meanwhile, reacting to the vandalism of Gandhi’s statue, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi warned anti-social elements of imprisonment if any more icons of political leaders were damaged anywhere in the state.

“Organisations politically inimical to good governance in Tamil Nadu are vainly hoping to drive a wedge between us and our allies the Congress. Their hopes will be dashed as my government will not tolerate any activity seen as a challenge to national integrity,” Karunanidhi said in a statement.

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