Freedom of expression 'stifled' in TN, alleges Karunanidhi

karunanidhi-pti (File) DMK party President M. Karunanidhi

Hitting out at the AIADMK government for slapping of sedition charges against six anti-liquor activists for their alleged incendiary speeches, DMK on Sunday charged that freedom of expression was being "stifled" in Tamil Nadu.

Party President M. Karunanidhi said that in a similar incident last year, an ultra left folk singer Kovan was booked for sedition for highlighting the "ills of liquor."

"As a next step, a case of sedition has been filed against those who participated in an anti-liquor conference. There can be no better example that the democratic freedom of expression is being stifled in Jayalalithaa rule," he said in a statement.

The DMK chief said that the Constitution of India had 'directed' that "the State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition," and that it has to be pondered over whether cases can be filed for speaking or writing about prohibition.

He wondered if even holding an anti-liquor conference was a "crime."

Referring to demands for doing away with 'sedition' following the JNU controversy in Delhi, Karunanidhi "condemned" the AIADMK government for persisting with the provision and sought withdrawal of cases against the activists.

The six activists of 'Makkal Adhikaram', a group with ultra-left leanings, were booked by police for allegedly making inflammatory speeches at the event held on February 14 at Tiruchirappalli.

The group has been running a campaign seeking closure of state-run liquor outlets.

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