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Draconian laws used to suppress key grassroots activists in Tamil Nadu

[TamilNet, Monday, 29 May 2017, 21:12 GMT]
Thirumurugan Gandhi, the convener of the May 17 Movement and Daison Jose, the leader of Thamizh Vidiyal Kadchi, its District Coordinator Ilamaran and activist Arun, have been detained under the so-called ‘Goondas’ Act in the Tamil Nadu State in India. The activists were initially detained on May 21 when they organised a peaceful candle vigil to remember the Eezham Tamils who perished in the genocidal onslaught on Tamil Eelam in 2009. It is widely believed that the New Delhi Establishment, which is proxy meddling with the affairs of Tamil Nadu following the demise of the late Chief Minister Ms Jayalalithaa, is behind the suppressive move through the Police in Tamil Nadu. The Goondas Act is a draconian law that stems from the times of the British colonialism.

[Video courtesy: VikatanTV, Tamil Nadu]

On 25t May the activists were denied bail and subsequently the State police filed cases against them under the draconian ‘Goondas act’, which is a controversial preventive detention legislation empowering the Police and the State authorities to arrest and detain people arbitrarily on the basis of mere suspicion.

The intention behind the use of this Act is to detain the activists behind the bars without trial up to 12 months. The Tamil Nadu Police has falsely charged the activists with multiple of ‘criminal offences’.

The New Delhi Establishment, which has been promoting the Colombo-centric paradigms schemed by the West, continues to suppress the Tamil cause on both sides of the Historic Waters of the Palk Strait even without paying attention to the ultimate threats to Indian security by the unchecked Sinhala militarization taking place in the country of Eezham Tamils, political observers in Chennai said.

The State government under the late Jayalalithaa, despite its collision course with the sections of the protesting activists and movements was also orientated to some extent of restraining them. Nevertheless, it provided a bulwark against New Delhi meddling in Tamil Nadu affairs. That was the strength of her regime, the observers further said.

With such a factor gone and the ensuing vacuum leaving the State government in disarray, the latest situation dangerously facilitates for the direct orchestration of events by New Delhi as witnessed in the recent past, they said.

Hence, the period in which the Tamil Nadu polity and masses are embroiled in now is historical and the courses of actions taken now will define the future path of Tamil Nadu, the observers added.

New Delhi’s intransigence detrimental to Tamil Nadu, to the Eezham Tamil national interests and ultimately to New Delhi itself, has been manifested time after time, whether in regards to the agrarian struggles, the Koodangku’lam struggle or in the Jallikkaddu struggle in Tamil Nadu.

New Delhi Establishment has also come under fire from Tamil Nadu for a long time for its continued endorsement of the genocidal regime in Colombo and for its military-to-military engagement with the Sri Lankan Navy, which has been involved in murder and repeated assaults on the fishermen of Tamil Nadu for several years. ‘The Goondas Act’ is short for The Tamil Nadu Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug Offenders, Forest Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders, Slum Grabbers and Video Pirates Act, 1982 (Tamil Nadu Act 14 of 1982).

It was amended further during the regime of the late Jayalaithaa, to include sexual offences and cybercrime. It continues to be a legislative act despite its draconian nature which allows the authorities to arrest anyone on the basis of mere suspicion.

The use of the draconian legislative against political activists of Tamil Nadu who advance grass-root struggles and express solidarity with the political rights of Eezham Tamils as well as Kashmiris is politically motivated, say the activists of May 17.

Interestingly, The Goonda Act, stems from the first larger counter-insurgency legislative introduced by the British known as the ‘Criminal Tribes Act’.

The act was issued in the immediate aftermath of the Paa’laiyak-kaarar rebellions that lasted from 1799 to 1805, when native chieftains launched a liberation war against the British East India Company that attempted to expand its imperial hold and monopoly over the entire Tamil country.

The legislation was meant to collectively harass and to ensure alienation of property and land as well as to monitor various communities within the Tamil society, considered to be hostile to British imperial rule.

In recent times, The Goondas Act was also systematically used to detain hundreds of villagers and activists during the protests opposed to Koodangku’lam Nuclear Power Plant from 2011 onwards.

Many of the arrested under this act by the Police, were later released as the courts did not find any substantial evidence against the detained, corroborating the modus operandi of the Police authorities in using the ‘Goondas Act’, mainly to silence and isolate leaders and articulators of people-centric movements.



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