A 54-year-old propagandist singer of an ultra Left outfit and an anti-liquor campaigner was arrested in Tiruchirappalli today 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.
"The uploaded electronic content like videos and lyrics were seditious, provoked people against the State, and 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 provocative and just 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 liquor.
With a traditional drum and sporting a deep-red headgear, he used to sing bare-chested in dhoti similar to any folk artiste.
Kovan was later produced before a magistrate court which remanded him in judicial custody till November 6. He is lodged in Puzhal central prison.
Meanwhile, said another song 'Utthi Kodutha', believed to have been sung by Kovan too had such highly objectionable references.
Karunanidhi termed the arrest as "AIADMK regime's anti-democratic action" and condemned it. He also demanded the immediate release of Kovan.
DMK treasurer M K Stalin condemned the arrest and alleged that the government was "unleashing repression" against those who fight seeking implementation of prohibition in Tamil Nadu.