Tamil Nadu

Kovan arrested for ‘promoting enmity’, gets bail

Kovan coming out of the Tiruchi court on Friday.   | Photo Credit: M. Moorthy

Folk singer and social activist Kovan was arrested by the Tiruchi City Police on Friday on charges of promoting enmity between groups through a song mocking the recent Ram Rajya Rath Yatra (undertaken by a VHP-affiliated organisation) and denigrating the Prime Minister and Chief Minister during a protest held in Tiruchi last month.

A few hours after his arrest, Mr. Kovan was granted bail by a city Judicial Magistrate court on the condition that he should sign in the court daily for 15 days.

2015 sedition charges

In October 2015, the folk singer had shot into prominence when he was booked on sedition charges by the Chennai City police for another song that allegedly denigrated then Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.

Friday’s arrest came after a police complaint by N. Gautam, the BJP Tiruchi urban district youth wing president, at the Cantonment police station.

Mr. Gautam had alleged that the song sung by Mr. Kovan during a protest organised by the Makkal Athikaram in front of the Head Post Office here on March 24 on the Cauvery issue had denigrated the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister, as well as the epic Ramayana. The song was rendered in a manner instigating violence, the complainant claimed.

Mr. Kovan’s song against the recent Rath Yatra went viral on the social media. Mr. Kovan told The Hindu over phone that a team of policemen in plainclothes landed at his house in Aravanur, near Woraiyur, in the morning to pick him up. However, his wife bolted the door from inside. As news spread, local residents and his advocates landed there wanting to know the grounds for his arrest, said Mr. Kovan, an activist associated with the Makkal Kalai Ilakiya Kazhagam. “After some time, the policemen broke open the door and barged into my house to arrest me,” alleged Mr. Kovan.

Police sources said the Cantonment police booked a case against Mr. Kovan under IPC sections including 153-A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

He was taken to the K.K. Nagar police station for inquiry. Later in the evening, he was produced before judicial magistrate court-I for remand. But the magistrate granted him bail.

Mr. Kovan claimed that the intention of the official machinery was to stifle his voice and songs. In the song, Mr. Kovan questions how Ram Rajya Yatra could be conducted in the State. Ram Rajya was nothing but Modi Rajya, he alleges and draws a parallel between the footwear worn by Rama and “the pair” that is acting at the behest of Modi in the State.

He goes on to claim that while the Ambanis and Adanis were given “maaniyam” (subsidy), innocent Hindus get only “komiyam” (cow urine).

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Printable version | Oct 15, 2021 4:45:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/kovan-arrested-for-promoting-enmity-gets-bail/article23530959.ece

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