Folk artiste arrested on sedition charge for criticising Jayalalithaa

Tiruchirappalli/Chennai: A 54-year-old propagandist singer of an ultra-Left outfit and an anti-liquor campaigner was arrested in Tiruchirappalli on Friday for alleged sedition and uploading defamatory content against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.

'Comrade' Kovan, Tiruchirappalli district functionary of art and literary outfit Makkal Kalai Ilakkiya Kazhagam, was arrested under various sections of the IPC early this morning from his residence, police said.

Soon after the arrest, he was brought to Chennai. 

"He uploaded electronic content like videos, lyrics which were seditious, provoked people against the State, these were highly defamatory of the government, and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa," a top police official told PTI.

"Such content had highly seditious, slanderous direct references including images, and lyrics, to the government and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa," he added. 

"We are in the process of blocking such seditious and defamatory videos," another senior official said, adding the lyrics including 'Moodu Tasmacai Moodu' ('Shut down TASMAC', retail chain of liqour stores run by the government) were illegal.

"Such content had (some) slanderous references to DMK chief Karunanidhi too (over liqour vending by State)."

"Process to produce him in the court is on, anytime, he will be produced in the Egmore Magistrate court," the official said.

The alleged defamatory content in the form of videos were uploaded in some Tamil websites and these also went viral in messaging mediums like WhatsApp.

The content, though centred over the liquor vending policy of Tamil Nadu government, had direct references to Jayalalithaa in a bad light, police said.

As is usual with any ultra-Left propaganda it had sharp anti-government views "seeking to protect" the people, they said. 

Against the background of sustained campaign against liquor and its sale by the Tamil Nadu government's TASMAC chain of retail outlets by various voluntary outfits and political parties, Kovan has been organising skits and similar events against liqour.

With a traditional drum and sporting a deep-red headgear, he used to sing bare-chested in dhoti similar to any folk artiste.

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