Tamil film director, separatist leaders held for fanning passions (Second Lead)

December 19th, 2008 - 10:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Erode (Tamil Nadu), Dec 19 (IANS) Southern film director Seeman and Tamil nationalist leader Kolathur Mani were sent to prison on a 14-day remand while another secessionist leader P. Maniarasan was arrested Friday for allegedly making inflammatory, secessionist speeches.”Seeman and Mani have been ordered to be remanded in judicial custody for 14 days and are on the way to the central prison in Coimbatore. Maniarasan will be produced before a magistrate Saturday,” a police official said.

“Supporters of the director and leaders attacked police vehicles, damaging one vehicle’s windscreen,” the official added.

Protesters were dispersed after baton charges, eyewitnesses said.

According to police sources, the arrests were made under section 505 of the Indian Penal Code (inciting common public and government servants to mutiny) after repeated complaints from Congress leaders alleging that Seeman, Mani and Maniarasan had denigrated late former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s sacrifice and had continued inflammatory, secessionist speeches here a few days ago.

There was high drama in this textile city, 350 km southwest of Chennai, where Seeman and Mani were brought from different parts of Tamil Nadu, according to eyewitnesses.

While Seeman was arrested in Batlagundu, 150 km southeast of here, Mani was picked up from Mettur, 50 km away, and Maniarasan was arrested near here earlier in the day.

“These are our continuing measures to curb suspected anti-national activity,” Director General of Police K.P. Jain told IANS by phone from Chennai.

Mani told reporters during his arrest that Tamil activists were being illegally victimised by the ruling DMK under pressure from the Congress, the party to which Rajiv Gandhi belonged.

Mani belongs to a breakaway faction of the rationalist outfit Dravida Kazhagam and supports the cause of Eelam, a separate Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka.

Maniarasan is the leader of the Tamil Nationalist Communist Party that propagates separatist ideology and is connected with armed, extremist, fringe extremist elements in the state.

“The Supreme Court has observed repeatedly that giving moral support to the cause of the ethnic minority in Sri Lanka cannot be deemed as an assault on India’s unity and integrity. Yet, the DMK regime is illegally victimising us under obvious pressure from the Congress that supports the minority government in the state,” Mani said.

Mani has been imprisoned in the past for espousing Tamil secessionist causes.

K. Ravichandran, who works for director Seeman, has meanwhile lodged a complaint in Chennai that his boss’ car was set afire by miscreants owing allegiance to central minister E.V.K.S. Elangovan.

Elangovan was not available for comment.

Tamil actor-director Manivannan also condemned Seeman’s arrest after seeing the damaged vehicle.

Directors Seeman and Ameer were earlier arrested in October for reportedly making speeches inciting violence during a protest demonstration in Rameshwaram in southern Tamil Nadu to express solidarity with the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka.

The directors denied the charge and claimed they were only protesting the attacks on Tamils in Sri Lanka. The duo was released shortly on conditional bail and ordered to stay within the Madurai jurisdiction.

MDMK leaders Vaiko and M. Kannappan were arrested on similar charges the same month and then released in November.

Political parties in Tamil Nadu have expressed anguish over the killings of innocent Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka by its military establishment during the ongoing civil war to quell the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was behind the killing of former prime minister of Rajiv Gandhi.

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