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Defamation suits,Jaya tool then and now

As in her previous two stints,Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has once again turned to defamation suits to take on rivals and media critics

Written by Gopu Mohan | Chennai |
August 8, 2012 12:38:14 am

As in her previous two stints,Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has once again turned to defamation suits to take on rivals and media critics.

On Monday,her government sued DMDK leader Vijayakant and The Hindu. Vijayakant had attacked her at a public meeting,saying that amid corruption and rising prices,she was away “taking a long break from work”; the daily had published this.

Last week,the city public prosecutor sued the Tamil edition of India Today for a story suggesting that Jaya had dropped AIADMK minister K A Sengottaiyan at the insistence of her close aide Sasikala.

In January there was a case against Nakkeeran,a biweekly soft towards the DMK,for alleging Jaya had eaten beef and claiming she herself had said so years ago. Party activists attacked its office on January 7. The matter ended with a note of “heartfelt regret” from the editor in a later edition.

Nakkeeran was at the receiving end of 146 cases during Jaya’s first stint in 1991-96. Its editor R R Gopal was imprisoned under POTA during her second stint.

When The Hindu reported the attack on Nakkeeran,it carried portions of the report and was dragged into the case. The Hindu faced some 20 cases during Jaya’s second stint,including one in 2003 when Assembly Speaker K Kalimuthu ordered the arrest of its then editor and a reporter along with others for breach of privilege.

Another case this year has been against eveninger Tamil Murasu and DMK leader M K Stalin after it published his allegation that Jaya had usurped the land of poor Dalits.

Next were Murasoli and its editor S Selvam,related to DMK’s M Karunanidhi,for a report that Jaya was connected to illegal sand mining. Biweekly Junior Vikatan faced cases for reports about a yagna allegedly performed at the Chief Minister’s residence; about a young woman,Priya Mahalakshmi,who claimed she was Jaya’s daughter; and about a supposed meeting between her and Ravanan,a Sasikala relative ousted from the inner circle.

During Jaya’s first stint,Speaker Sedapatti R Muthiah had issued arrest warrants against K P Sunil of The Illustrated Weekly of India,Murasoli’s Selvam and Kovai Maalai Murasu’s S K I Sunther. The matter was dropped after the DMK came to power.

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