Tamil folk singer Kovan arrested for anti-Jayalalithaa song, slapped with sedition charge

Kovan was picked up from his home at 2.30 am ‘forcefully’, says lawyer; songs criticised Jayalalithaa-led govt’s liquor policy.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: December 25, 2015 10:22 pm
Tamil singer, Tamil folk singer, tamil folk singer arrested, s kovan, anti-Jayalalithaa,  Jayalalithaa, tamil nadu, tamil nadu news, jaya, folk singer, india news, latest news S Kovan

What happened to S Kovan, a 45-year-old folk singer from Trichy, in the early hours of Friday has a lot in common with the plot of India’s entry to Oscars 2016, Court. The movie portrays the ordeal of a Dalit activist-poet, who challenges the establishment through his songs and is subsequently held responsible for the suicide of a sewage cleaner. In Kovan’s case, the Tamil Nadu police Friday slapped sedition charges on him for songs he penned against the J Jayalalithaa-led Tamil Nadu government and its liquor policy.

Officials said the Cyber Crime Police picked up Kovan from his house in Woraiyur near Trichy at 2.30 am. Kovan heads the cultural wing of Makkal Kalai Ilakkiya Kazhagam or People’s Art and Literary Association, a 30-year-old movement working for the weaker sections of society. The cultural wing routinely performs folk songs and street plays on socio-economic issues.

Kovan was reportedly arrested for the lyrics of two songs he had penned in the last few months, ‘Moodu Tasmac Moodu

and ‘Ooruku oru Sarayam

both songs are strong critiques of alcoholism and the state policy on liquor sale.

A senior police officer confirmed Kovan was brought to Chennai early Friday morning. Kovan’s lawyer Gym Milton, who met his client Friday evening, said he has been charged under sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between different social groups and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 505/1 (criminal intimidation, insult and annoyance) of the IPC. A senior officer who arrested him confirmed the charges.

Kovan has been remanded in police custody for 15 days.

His lawyer also alleged that the arrest was in violation of a citizen’s basic rights. “He was beaten up and pulled into the police vehicle forcefully. He was not given a reason for the dramatic arrest. Police refused to divulge information about his remand or exact charges with us, which amounts to denial of legal rights. It was only after the Madras High Court asked the public prosecutor to follow due procedure and ensure Kovan’s basic rights that I was allowed to meet him. Kovan said he was interrogated for over five hours over charges of instigating people against the government and the chief minister. They have also registered a case against the owner of vinavu.com — the website where his songs were uploaded,” claimed Milton.

Police reportedly tried to arrest the website’s owner Kannaiyan Ramadas by conducting a search at his house in Thanjavur last night but he was not home, sources said.

Chennai city police commissioner T K Rajendran confirmed Kovan’s arrest and said, “Investigation is going on.”

The lyrics of Moodu Tasmac Moodu make an appeal to the ruling party to close liquor shops as alcoholism has spoiled the state. Ooruku oru Sarayam makes direct remarks about Jayalalithaa and her party. The lyrics state that the CM is rejoicing at ‘Poes’ — her residence is at Poes Garden — while people are dying due to liquor consumption. It also refers to the apparently contradictory situation in the state where one can get an idli for Rs 1 but is forced to spend lakhs on education. It also alleges that the main source of liquor shops in Tamil Nadu is Midas — a distillery company with alleged links to Jayalalithaa’s aide Sasikala — and that the closure of liquor shops would affect their future.

The songs were originally uploaded on Tamil website vinavu.com before they went viral on YouTube and social media.

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  1. A
    Abhinav Gour
    Oct 30, 2015 at 4:07 pm
    where are the news channel now??
    Reply
    1. P
      Parkar
      Oct 30, 2015 at 6:45 pm
      the incidents are similar to story of movie 'Court'
      Reply
      1. D
        Dharma
        Oct 31, 2015 at 5:34 pm
        Open your eyes. Sundar is saying the truth.
        Reply
        1. S
          Soban_Babu
          Oct 30, 2015 at 8:18 pm
          Veliaya anupungada antha THEVADIYAVA.
          Reply
          1. S
            SHUNT_HER~OUT
            Oct 30, 2015 at 8:51 pm
            Comdemnable, high handed, deplorable, utter lawlessness. What the FK is law doing? Was it written for the the filthy politicians? No civil liberties, no human rights.
            Reply
            1. J
              Jeevan
              Oct 31, 2015 at 7:55 am
              Reply
              1. H
                Heaven_possible
                Oct 30, 2015 at 8:14 pm
                Gita says that all brahmins should support Selvi Jayalalitha and clean her red hot triangle for reaching heaven!
                Reply
                1. K
                  K.sundar
                  Oct 31, 2015 at 12:27 am
                  Ms. Jayalalitha is not Mr.Modi or the BJP to tolerate any nonsense. This indecent man is a Karunanidhi's stooge.
                  Reply
                  1. B
                    BCHCHAKKARI
                    Oct 30, 2015 at 8:46 pm
                    No wonder she called a BCHCHAKKARI
                    Reply
                    1. F
                      forsure
                      Oct 31, 2015 at 2:14 pm
                      Why people do such type thing to create many type of disturbance.he is the famous and well known singer.
                      Reply
                      1. A
                        Arun Patil
                        Oct 30, 2015 at 4:19 pm
                        Jayalalitha learning a few tricks from RSS/BJP!
                        Reply
                        1. A
                          ASI KANNAN
                          Oct 30, 2015 at 11:24 pm
                          Mr. Kovan, in his song has used unparlimentary words against the Chief Minister. He has used the word '' ULLASAM''. Did he really went to the Chief Minister's residence and saw whether the CM was in ''ULLASAM''. If not, then how dare he used that word?. In public place one must maintain diginity and decency. You can't speak or sing as u wish. In the street or even in our house, quarrel between two persons begins because of using unparlimentary words. If such is the situation, one must be careful about their words against highly diginified personality like CM, PM . etc. In Thirukural, there is a poem'' yakavarinum naa kakka, kavakkal, sokapaar solillukkuppattu''. This is applicable to Mr.Kovan
                          Reply
                          1. B
                            Balusamy
                            Oct 31, 2015 at 10:09 am
                            The readers may not know which type of organization is "PALA", but the IE should have known it and their intention. You, as an unbiased newsagency, should also bring out all these facts to the public for review and to comment upon the action of the government.
                            Reply
                            1. B
                              Biltu
                              Oct 30, 2015 at 11:47 pm
                              INDIA WAS ONCE A SECULAR DEMOCRACY WITH FREEDOM OF SPEECH.
                              Reply
                              1. B
                                Biltu
                                Oct 30, 2015 at 4:43 pm
                                JAYALALITHAS GOVERNMENT IS LEARNING FROM THE BJP GOVERNMENT AT THE CENTRE.
                                Reply
                                1. B
                                  Biltu
                                  Oct 30, 2015 at 11:46 pm
                                  MR KOVAN YOU ARE SUCH A SYCHOPHANT YOU NEED A GOVAM UP YOUR BUM.
                                  Reply
                                  1. B
                                    Biltu
                                    Oct 31, 2015 at 3:35 am
                                    ONCE UPON A TIME INDIA WAS A LIBERAL DEMOCRACY WITH FREEDOM OF SPEECH .
                                    Reply
                                    1. K
                                      Kaliyug
                                      Oct 31, 2015 at 9:04 pm
                                      What kind of democracy is this? No one should criticize this FATSO. Let her deeds speak for herself, if Kovam is singing something against her then he should be free to do so. Unless his songs have intolerance and racial tones I would let him bark.
                                      Reply
                                      1. R
                                        Robert
                                        Nov 19, 2015 at 2:27 pm
                                        Seriously !!! ...Sedition for a song criticizing !!! And top it off ...people supporting it . We are not North Korea and don't want to be. Sedition is very very serious charge.
                                        Reply
                                        1. B
                                          Babumoshai
                                          Oct 31, 2015 at 2:36 pm
                                          He might be an extremist. But he should be arrested for sound reasons - not for a song. The govt should collate evidence and then arrest him. The manner of his arrest and the reasons given are not convincing.
                                          Reply
                                          1. B
                                            Babumoshai
                                            Oct 31, 2015 at 9:25 am
                                            Heard about freedom of speech? Obviously not. It is a consutional right. People cannot sing songs or write using words that are to the liking of political leaders. Why is govt so afraid of one individual's song or writing? Just read history and find out what kind of leaders or governments become afraid of solitary acts of dissent.
                                            Reply
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