A sedition case has been filed against the author of Meendezhum Pandiyar Varalaru (Resurgence of Pandiyar History), which claims that Pallars, a Scheduled Caste, were the original rulers of southern Tamil Nadu.
The book, banned by the State government, argues that the Pallars were the original settlers on fertile river tracts in Tamil territory.
The Sattur Town Police have filed the case against the author K. Senthil Mallar and his father-in-law Perumalsamy (63) under Sections 124A, 153A, 153B and 295A of the Indian Penal Code – provisions related to sedition and causing disharmony between sections of society. The Police on Wednesday arrested Perumalsamy from his house in Chinna Odaipatti Village, Sattur, for possession of copies of the book and seized four books.
The Gazette Order says that the book under section 95 (1) (a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Central Act 2 of 1974) should be forfeited to government.
The book, the author said, was an attempt towards caste identity construction . However, the government’s gazette notification says the presentation of the author carried demeaning description and disparaging remarks against certain communities and carries defamatory statements and distorted history regarding prominent leaders of the State.
Reacting to the sedition case, R. Christodas Gandhi, former Additional Chief Secretary, told The Hindu that, Scheduled Castes in this State observed that the Dravidian state choked their voice of assertion whenever they wanted to define their identity on their own. Whenever they tried to discover their own past, the political and caste regimes here treated it as an offence. “They feel that SCs cannot have an autonomous identity of their own and hence this ban and use of sedition laws to muzzle and prevent journey into their past.”
Writer A. Marx said banning of books itself was condemnable and now a case had been filed under the anachronistic colonial law of sedition. “The registering of such kind of a case is nothing but a blatant attack on the fundamental right of expression.” The government was misusing the law to satisfy a particular community, he said.
Writer and journalist Gnani said it was complete misuse of power on the part of the Jayalalithaa government. Slapping such sedition cases was also not new to the government. They had done it against so many people who protested demanding safety in the Kudankulam issue. “There was a strong sympathy for the AIADMK government for taking action against PMK in the Marakkanam issue but now this action would make them lose that sympathy,” he opined. The author could not be reached for his opinion.
Keywords: Meendezhum Pandiyar Varalaru, sedition case, Pallar community, Tamil land, Scheduled Castes in Tamil Nadu, Tamil Nadu rulers, Tamil Nadu government, Meendezhum Pandiyar Varalaru, K.Senthil Mallar