`Cancel bail of filmmakers who gave seditious speeches’ (Lead)

November 5th, 2008 - 11:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Madurai (Tamil Nadu), Nov 5 (IANS) A Congress functionary Wednesday urged the Madras High Court to cancel the conditional bail of movie directors Seeman and Ameer, who were arrested for making allegedly seditious speeches to express solidarity with the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka.The petition, filed with the Madurai bench of the high court, will be heard Thursday.

Muthu Pandi of the Congress alleged that the two film directors had spoken against India’s unity and integrity and hailed a banned organisation - the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

“Since the directors’ actions also belittled the supreme sacrifice of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, and their remaining free will create a serious law and order problem in Tamil Nadu, the bail should be immediately cancelled,” Pandi told IANS.

Seeman and Ameer were arrested Oct 24 for making allegedly seditious speeches during a demonstration in Rameshwaram Oct 19 to express solidarity with the suffering Tamil minority in Sri Lanka.

They were released from prison Friday on conditional bail and were asked to sign in a magistrate’s court here daily.

Meanwhile, in state capital Chennai, 400 km north of here, the Film Employees’ Federation of South India (FEFSI) held the movie industry’s fourth major protest during the past one month, seeking India’s pro-active role in ending the war in Sri Lanka.

Actor and FEFSI president Vijayan said the film industry was considering to go on an indefinite strike if the killings in Sri Lanka did not end soon.

“We do not believe that Sri Lanka will heed mere hunger-strikes and polite protests. If the killings do not end soon, the Tamil film industry will go on an indefinite strike,” Vijayan said.

Actor-turned-politician and South Indian Artistes’ Association president Sarath Kumar underlined the need for “meaningful action”.

“The only meaningful action needed now is the halt to the military operations. Nations like Norway can initiate negotiations only after the war ends and succour reaches the suffering Tamils,” Kumar said.

Comprising 22 technicians’ unions representing the south Indian film industry, the FEFSI demanded India’s intervention to halt military operations against Tamil civilians in the neighbouring island nation.

A top SIAA functionary, however, felt the protests were a charade.

“All these protests are a mere eyewash. Neither the centre, nor the state or for that matter Sri Lanka will be bothered if the film industry in Tamil Nadu goes on strike. All that matters to the lot of them is the income that comes through distribution of Tamil films abroad which is controlled by Lankan Tamils,” the functionary added on condition of anonymity.

In a separate development, multilingual Tamil superstar Kamal Haasan cancelled his 55th birthday celebrations scheduled by his fan clubs Thursday, citing the travails of the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka.

“An individual’s birthday loses credence…when genocide is practised in our neighbouring island with renewed vigour… Refrain from celebrations when our neighbours are hopeless spectators to genocide and mass funerals,” Haasan said in a message to his fans released to the press.

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