CHENNAI: A day after his stall was shut down at the Chennai Book Fair, V Anbazhagan, a journalist who runs a Tamil news portal, was arrested from his house in Poonamallee at around 5.30 am on Sunday. He was later remanded to judicial custody till January 24.
The organisers alleged Anbazhagan violated rules by selling books ‘against the government’ and threatened them when they told him to shut the stall. He agreed to shut down only after police arrived.
BAPASI president R S Shanmugam told Express, “Applicants should adhere to conditions, including not displaying and selling books against or banned by the government. He initially agreed but was later found to be doing so. We sent a notice to Anbazhagan asking him to vacate on Saturday.” Police said,
“Anbazhagan violated rules of book fair. When the organisers asked him to remove the stall, an argument ensued.” Organisers alleged Anbazhagan went to their office with others and verbally abused them. The complaint was not lodged in support of a party or the government, said a statement from BAPASI, the organisers of the fair.
Leaders of opposition parties condemned the arrest. In a Facebook post, DMK chief MK Stalin said it is condemnable that permission for a stall at the book fair to sell books was cancelled.
He demanded the immediate release of Anbazhagan. MDMK leader Vaiko termed the arrest ‘an attack on freedom of expression’.