Tamil Nadu parties condemn Kovan's arrest
Leading political parties in Tamil Nadu have denounced the arrest of Kovan- the folk singer, for his song against the AIADMK government's system on liquor trade. S. Ramadoss- Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) founder condemned the arrest of Mr Kovan but also made it clear that he did not agree with the lyrics of the song. Leader of Opposition, Vijaykanth also condemned the arrest.
Shiva Raj aka Comrade Kovan, is the lead singer of Peoples Art and Literary Association (PALA). He is a Tamil folk singer and an anti-alcohol campaigner who has been seeking ban of alchohol. Kovan has been in constant conflict with the Tamil Nadu administration because of his continued drive for complete prohibition in the state and closing of "government-run TASMAC liquor shops."
The Tamil Nadu police arrested singer Kovan on sedition charges for his songs against the J Jayalalithaa-led government and its 'liquor policy'. He was picked up around 2.30 a.m. by the Cyber Crime Police picked up from his house in Woraiyur near Trichy. He was charged under sections 124A (sedition), 153A (for disturbing harmony) and 505/1 (insult, annoyance and criminal intimidation) of the IPC.
Kovan's songs were incipiently uploaded on Tamil website vinavu.com before they went viral on YouTube and social media.
The lyrics of Kovan's "Moodu Tasmac Moodu" addressed the ruling government to shut liquor stores as alcoholism has defiled the state. "Ooruku oru Sarayam" made direct comments about Jayalalithaa and AIADMK party saying that she rejoices in her residence, while people die due to liquor consumption. It also blamed the problem on Midas — a distillery company which is linked to Jayalalithaa's aide Sasikala.
National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data points out that more than 1,500 people have died because of counterfeit or illicit liquor between 2005 and 2014 in Tamil Nadu.
Kovan's lawyer alleged that the singer's arrest was an infringement of basic human rights. The lawyer said Kovan hadn't been given any understanding for the arrest. Police had allegedly refused to disclose information about his arrest or specific charges which amounted to the denial of constitutional liberties. The police have denied these claims.