In a rebuff to the police, a local magistrate refused to remand Tamil nationalist Thirumurugan Gandhi who was arrested in Bengaluru for taking to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva the firing on anti-Sterlite protestors in Thoothukudi.
However, within seconds of the court setting him free, the police arrested him again hardly a few yards from the Chennai Police Commissioner office in another pending case against him.
Thirumurugan Gandhi, leader of the May17 movement named in remembrance of the day LTTE chief V Prabhakaran that died in the final battle in Sri Lanka in 2009, was arrested in Bengaluru upon his return from Geneva by the Bengaluru police who handed him over to a Tamil Nadu police team.
The Tamil Nadu police booked him on sedition charge, brought him Chennai and produced him before XI metropolitan magistrate S Prakash.
Unlike other magistrates who routinely remand all accused to 14 days , this one sought proof to show that Gandhi’s Facebook post had triggered unrest and riots and it was seditious in nature. As no immediate proof was available, the magistrate said he should be set free within 24 hours of his arrest in Bengaluru.
Accordingly, he was set free at 5 p.m. on Friday. Within seconds, police took him into custody hardly a few yards from the police commissioner office in another case relating to an agitation led by him in the city last year.
Thirumurugan Gandhi has been in the forefront of all struggles not only against Sterlite , but also oil pipeline projects in the Thanjavur delta region and against NEET exam. He was detained under the Goonda’s Act last year after he tried to stage a protest in the Marina in memory of Tamils killed in the civil war in Sri Lanka.
Unlike other supporters of the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Tamil cause like Pazha Nedumaran who are sober, Thirumurugan Gandhi is a rabid champion of ethno-nationalism, that is Tamils are a distinct race and they are entitled to a separate nation.
Sri Lankan diaspora spread all over the world still keep their alive their dream of Eelam, an independent homeland in Sri Lanka and, in order to keep the issue alive, they lobby with separatists likeThirumurugan Gandhi as well as other Tamil nationalists like Velmurugan, film director Seeman and Thyagu, an ex-naxalite .
Nedumaran who is the senior-most among the supporters of the LTTE, has always acted within the confines of the Indian laws.
Marumalarchi DMK leader Vaiko, who was detained under POTA for19 months during Jayalalitha rule for supporting the banned LTTE, has since distanced himself from the ultra radical Eelamists while being in touch with more sober elements in the Tamil Diaspora.
While quashing Vaiko's detention, the Supreme Court that lending moral support to a banned outfit like the LTTE is not an offence, but material support is.