Tamil Nadu: Admin of Twitter handle arrested for sharing video mocking DMK government
The video ridiculed the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s Budget announcement to provide Rs 1,000 monthly assistance to women homemakers.
The Tamil Nadu Police have arrested a man for sharing a video that ridiculed the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government on selection of eligible beneficiaries for a scheme in which women homemakers will be given a monthly allowance of Rs 1,000, The Indian Express reported.
Pradheep was arrested on Tuesday and has been remanded to 15-day judicial custody. He was taken into custody after he refused to remove the video and shared it repeatedly.
He has been booked under various charges dealing with offences related to promoting enmity between groups, public mischief and insulting the modesty of women.
Pradheep is the admin of a Twitter handle called Voice of Savukku Shankar, the police said. The handle is based on YouTuber Savukku Shankar, who was sentenced to six-month imprisonment in September for contempt of court. However, the Supreme Court suspended his sentence a month later.
On the social media page, Pradheep had shared a video in which he had imposed the names of Chief Minister MK Stalin and Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan on the characters of an old Tamil comedy movie.
While presenting the 2023-’24 Budget in the state Assembly on Monday, Rajan had announced the Rs 1000 monthly assistance and said that it will be for eligible households. His remarks suggested that there could be a possible selection process to determine eligible women heads of the family.
The video shared by Pradheep showed a scene from the movie where two actors can be seen “choosing” women based on how they look.
“Requests were made to delete this post, as it was not only demeaning to women in general but highly derogatory with sexual undertones,” a police officer said. “But he [Pradheep] refused to delete the post and kept sharing it again and again. Moreover, he also challenged the police to arrest him.”
Shankar said the action against Pradheep violates a Supreme Court ruling that arrests should not be made in case of crimes with less than seven years of imprisonment.
Accusing the police force of acting as “DMK mercenaries”, Shankar alleged that Pradheep’s parents were not informed about his arrest. He also claimed that the police had seized the cell phones belonging to Pradheep and his mother.
The Opposition parties in the state also criticised the police’s actions. Some politicians and Twitter users have shared the video with the hashtag “#ArrestMeToo_Stalin”.
Shankar also shared the video, daring the police to arrest him. “Commissioner is acting like a mercenary of the ruling party and not as a police officer,” he alleged.
Bharatiya Janata Party state president K Annamalai alleged that if posting a video trolling someone calls for arrest, the entire DMK IT wing should be behind bars.
“Democracy turns into autocracy when powers are concentrated within one family and becomes a state of dictatorship in no time,” he alleged. “The DMK government is rattled by the slightest criticism and has displayed its dictatorial behaviour by arresting a person for a social media post.”
BJP leader and National Commission for Women member Khushbu Sundar alleged that the DMK government was suppressing people’s voice.
“Shocked to note that they can’t handle even memes,” she said. “Conspicuous signs of a weak government. If they are arresting because allegedly someone had represented women badly, what about your own men who keep bad-mouthing women every day? Any plans to arrest them MK Stalin?”