TAMIL NADU

Bid to silence Opposition: Congress

CHENNAI DEC. 25. The State Government is trying to gag the Opposition voice of dissent by reviving old criminal cases, Congress leaders, S. Balakrishnan and E.V.K.S. Elangovan, have said.

Condemning the police action against the DPI general secretary, R. Tirumavalavan, the leaders in a joint statement said it exposed the AIADMK Government's ``vindictive'' attitude towards Opposition parties. Mr. Tirumavalavan was targeted for resisting the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the anti-conversion law and the BJP-inspired Hindutva agenda being pursued by the State Government, they said.

If the democratic rights of leaders to voice dissent were muffled, the spirit of democracy would be rendered meaningless, they noted, and accused the State Government of trampling upon those rights.

Cautioning that the State was inching towards total dictatorship, they said if the Government did not mend its ways it would have to face concerted resistance from the Opposition.

Faced with the revival of a 1997 case of causing damage to public property during a party rally, Mr. Tirumavalavan had to surrender before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate on Tuesday to get the non-bailable arrest warrant issued against him recalled.