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We will take action if Kannappan is not dropped: Jayalalithaa

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI SEPT. 22. Accusing the Union Minister, M. Kannappan, of supporting the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, today announced that ``suitable action'' would be taken against him under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

In a letter to Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, she said the ``continuance of such a person in the Union Council of Ministers would compromise national security and lead to an irreparable situation, exposing the country to even greater danger''.

The Prime Minister should intervene and take steps to remove Mr. Kannappan ``in the interest of the nation and thus uphold the rule of law''. As he was continuously offending the mandatory provisions of the POTA, the State Government could not wait endlessly without taking any action. ``In the event of the Prime Minister not taking action due to compelling political reasons, the State Government will be constrained to take action, given the gravity of the matter.''

Public order, she said, was an exclusive subject as per Entry 1 of List-II (State list) of Schedule VII. Tamil Nadu was entitled, as per the mandate of the Constitution, to take action against the Minister. ``No law prevents even a Central Minister from being arrested by the State Government, in the public interest and public discipline if he/she indulges in activities against the law of the land and prosecution can be initiated by the State Government against him/her.''

`Anti-national conduct'

Describing Mr. Kannappan's speeches in support of the LTTE as an ``anti-national conduct'', Ms. Jayalalithaa said these were an offence under Section 21(2) and (3) of the POTA and Section 10 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. At a September 16 Chennai function, Mr. Kannappan, who belonged to the MDMK, openly declared his party's allegiance to the banned LTTE. ``He confessed that he had already spoken 25 times in support of the LTTE,'' she said. ``The question which I pose to you, Mr. Prime Minister, is whether your Minister, who holds office under the Constitution of India, could openly and brazenly flout the provisions of the law and speak out in favour of a banned organisation. Does this not make a mockery of the Constitution, which we have all sworn to uphold?''

In this context, Ms. Jayalalithaa recalled that she wrote on August 2, 2002 a letter, bringing to his notice that Mr. Kannappan had openly supported the LTTE at various public meetings and media conferences.

``Unfortunately, no effective action was taken in the matter. This has certainly emboldened Mr. Kannappan to continue his open and brazen support of the LTTE.''

The Chief Minister pointed out that a Minister assumed office after taking an oath to not only uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India but also do right by all manner of people in accordance with the Constitution and law without fear or favour, affection or ill-will.

``Is it not a travesty of this sacred oath to enforce laws and to uphold the Constitution that your Minister is now blatantly and wilfully violating the provisions of the law and openly espousing the cause of an organisation banned by your own Government in the interests of national security?''

It would only be proper to divest Mr. Kannappan of his ministership, ``lest it lead to the irresistible inference that the Central Government itself is encouraging such violation of the law of the land.''

The State Government could not be a silent spectator when a Central Minister undermined the law whenever he visited Tamil Nadu with open declarations that he could not be touched, she said.

The MDMK leader, Vaiko, is already in detention under the POTA for making a pro-LTTE speech.

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