Tamil Nadu publisher gets bail, plea seeking custody binned

Earlier, the court dismissed a petition filed by Kunnam police seeking custody of Seshadri who had been lodged in Tiruchy jail.
Badri Seshadri
Badri Seshadri

PERAMBALUR/CHENNAI:   Publisher Badri Seshadri, who was arrested on charges of promoting communal enmity with his remarks on Manipur violence, the judiciary and CJI DY Chandrachud in an interview, was granted conditional bail by district munsif-cum-judicial magistrate court in Kunnam on Tuesday. Seshadri has to appear at Srirangam police station and sign for 15 days.

Earlier, the court dismissed a petition filed by Kunnam police seeking custody of Seshadri who had been lodged in Tiruchy jail. Police had arrested Seshadri from his house in Chennai under Sections 153, 153A and 505 (1) (b) for his remarks on July 29, based on a complaint lodged by lawyer Kaviarasu from Kunnam.

Letter to CM
A group of writers had, on Monday, sent a letter to Chief Minister MK Stalin seeking Seshadri’s release.
The letter was endorsed by writers Ambai, Paul Zacharia, Perumal Murugan, historians Stalin Rajangam, AR Venkatachalapathy, musician T M Krishna, professor Rajan Krishnan and publisher Kannan Sundaram. The letter referred to the arrest as an extreme reaction which is against the spirit of the constitutional assurance of freedom of expression.

“We believe the government of Tamil Nadu following the Dravidian model of governance inspired by the ideals of Thandai Periyar, CN Annadurai and M Karunanidhi is strongly committed to freedom of expression. We expect the government to be an exemplary model in this matter,” the letter read.
Historian Ramachandra Guha had earlier tweeted, “Criticising the Supreme Court or even the CJI is to exercise the freedom of speech the Constitution guarantees us.”

But,  a section of writers are divided over the issue. Senior journalist Vijayashankar differed with the signatories of the letter through a social media post. “Free speech is not unlimited. It is bound by the restriction. Seshadri’s statement does not conform to free speech. His tirade against Dravidian leaders has gone unchecked. The letter is purely hypocritical. The signatories have remained silent when critics of the Union government were targeted through agencies or had their freedom of expression curtailed,” he told TNIE.

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