Tamil Nadu is a pioneer in the country when it comes to honouring freedom fighters, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said on Tuesday.

“The State government deems it an important duty to honour freedom fighters and Tamil scholars,” he said after releasing the stamp in memory of the rebel Muthuramalinga Sethupathy, king of Ramanathapuram, who resisted the British rule.

The Chief Minister said it was befitting that the stamp release function was being held at Fort St George, where Muthuramalinga Sethupathy was lodged in a prison till his last days. When he died he was 49 and he had spent half of his life in the jails in Tiruchi and Fort St George.

The Chief Minister said Muthuramalinga Sethupathy was crowned when he was only 72 days old and his mother had become regent.

The Nawab of Arcot along with the British attacked the palace in 1772 and captured 12-year-old Sethupathy, his mother and sisters. They were lodged in a prison in Tiruchi. In 1782, he was released in the wake of upsurges and revolts in Ramanathapuram.

He joined hands with the Dutch and manufactured cannons. He resisted the efforts of the British to have absolute rights over purchase of textile goods, besides rejecting their demand for exempting their ships from paying duty. Once again the British attacked the palace in 1795. Sethupathy was arrested and lodged in Fort St George. He died in the jail in 1809. Chief Secretary K.S.Sripathi said the State government had been honouring freedom fighters, by erecting memorials, statues and manimandapams.

Shanthi Nair, Chief Postmaster-General (CPG) for the Tamil Nadu Circle said the Postal department had so far released 90 stamps in memory of personalities from Tamil Nadu.

Public Secretary D. Jothi Jagarajan and Tamil Development Secretary K. Muthusamy participated.

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