CHENNAI: About 100 functionaries of the MDMK were detained on Monday in the city when they tried to lay siege to the Thanthi TV office, protesting against the telecast of an interview of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. MDMK leader Vaiko felicitated the cadre before they proceeded to the protest. Besides the MDMK, other organisations including the Thamizhar Vaalvurimai Katchi participated in the protest.
The protesters said such a telecast was aimed at portraying Rajapaksa in a positive light and it would only serve as a platform for his false propaganda, lies and distortions to deceive the people of Tamil Nadu.
“Rajapaksa would say what he wanted to say and tough and embarassing questions are not possible. It would only end up as a counter propaganda to the Tamil nationalists here,” a protersor asserted. Reacting to questions on freedom of the press and democracy, they said such protests too were part of democracy. When people had democratic freedom to telecast such a ‘Goebels interview’, others too had the democratic freedom to protest, they said.
There were many outfits in Tamil Nadu that propagated separation, they said and asked if their views had been telecast in the same channel or would be telecast in future to uphold democracy and freedom of expression.
The protesters said it was Daily Thanthi founder Adithanar who propagated the idea of a Tamil Eelam in the sixties, a decade before Lankan Tamil leader Selvanayaga declared it. “Providing publicity to Rajapaksa’s lies was a betrayal of Adithanar’s policy”, they asserted.
Earlier, Vaiko issued a statement condemning the telecast and said Adithanar was concerned about the welfare of Eelam Tamils and raised his voice in support of them. His son Sivanthi Adithan also showed a similar concern, he added.
VCKleader Thol Thirumavalavan too opposed the telecast and requested the channel not to go ahead with it. A large number of policemen were deployed around the channel office from the afternoon. Meanwhile, the Madras Reporters Guild and a few journalist associations condemned the MDMK and VCK.