Tamil Nadu: PALA Statement on arrest of Comrade Kovan

October 30, 2015

People’s Power, a mass organization in Tamil Nadu, has been conducting agitations demanding shutdown of liquor outlets run by state owned TASMAC. As part of this campaign, two popular video songs by People’s Art and Literary Association (PALA) “Moodu Tasmac-i Moodu – Shutdown TASMAC…” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZLrn1dKOF8)” and “oothi kodutha uthami… – the lady who served liquor makes merry in Poes garden” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TH4oihCsZ3s) were released in Vinavu (vinavu.com) newszine and reached lakhs of viewers.

Inspite of sustained and widespread struggles and demand by all sections of society, the Jayalalithaa government stubbornly refuses to change its liquor policy which has impoverished the working population and degenerated popular culture in Tamil Nadu. Students and People’s Power activists who fought against TASMAC were arrested and jailed for many weeks.

Now, Comrade Kovan the lead singer of PALA cultural troupe has been arrested by the police at around 2.30 midnight today (30-10-2015) from his house at Trichy. He is charged under sections 124A (sedition), 153 (attempt to create enmity between social groups) and 502/1 (sale of any printed or engraved substance containing defamatory matter) by the Chennai city crime branch police. A special squad of around 10 policemen swooped into his house, roughed him up and took him into custody. His whereabouts are not known. The local police is also in the dark.

In the increasingly bizarre universe called Indian democracy, demanding shutdown of liquor shops has joined the long list of “seditious” activities, like drawing a cartoon, posting in Facebook or writing a magazine article.

We will not be cowed down by this oppression. The songs of PALA will continue to reverberate.

We call upon all democratic forces to fight this fascist oppression by spreading this message and the songs.

People’s Art and Literary Association,
Tamil Nadu