Amidst the criticism over the arrests of those allegedly spreading rumours on Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s health, Sagayam, a 28-year-old youth who runs a small shop in his village near Tuticorin, has been arrested on Wednesday by Tamil Nadu police for a Facebook post on Jayalalithaa. While police sources confirm that Sagayam did commit a ‘crime’ by using Facebook to spread wrong information about Jayalalithaa’s health. What exactly he shared in social media remains unclear.
According to sources close to his family, Sagayam was picked up from home on Wednesday morning by a police team. “They came and told his mother that they need to question him in connection with an inquiry on his passport. Soon he was taken in the police vehicle. Few minutes later, the team was at home again to return his valuable possessions including a gold ornament and told the relatives that he is being taken to Chennai for further questioning for spreading rumours about Jayalalithaa’s health,” said a relative. Sagayam had been working abroad for sometime before he returned to his village and started a small business.
After the local police claimed ignorance of his arrest and suggested that it might have been the cyber crime wing from Chennai that had taken him in custody, Sagayam’s relatives have decided to approach the Tuticorin collector and protest for his immediate release.
Sagayam’s was the eighth arrest in Tamil Nadu for spreading rumours about Jayalalithaa’s health. A total of 43 cases have been registered since September 22, the day when Jayalalithaa was admitted to Apollo Hospital in Chennai. While the first three cases including one against Tamizachi, a Tamil social media figure notorious for her conspiracy theories on controversial political developments, and two arrests — one for a fake audio in the name of Jayalalithaa and another for a fake audio in the name of an Apollo Hospital staff confirming all rumours surrounding Jayalalithaa’s health, were considered reasonable, all remaining arrests have now triggered a controversy as the charges were mostly based on speculations and remarks they shared on Jayalalithaa’s health at work place or private pages.
A senior police officer said many more people would be arrested in the coming days for allegedly spreading rumours and triggering tension among public by sharing false information on the CM’s health. Meanwhile, Apollo Hospital did not release any medical bulletins regarding her health in the past few days.