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Tamil Nadu: Documentary filmmaker Divya Bharathi arrested for 2009 student protests, granted bail

The ‘Kakkoos’ director had participated in an agitation against a Dalit student’s death because of alleged hospital negligence.

Documentary filmmaker Divya Bharathi was arrested by the Madurai Police on Tuesday and later released on bail in connection with a case registered against her in 2009, The Hindu reported.

In 2009, Bharathi and six others had participated in a protest against a Dalit student’s death because of lack of proper medical attention at Government Rajaji Hospital. The student was taken to the hospital after being bitten by a snake. The group had also protested against the abysmal conditions of the hostels housing Dalit students in Madurai.

On Tuesday, the police arrested Bharathi from her house in Alangakulam and produced her before the judicial magistrate’s court. The judge granted her conditional bail and ordered her to sign at the court for a week, reported PTI.

Bharathi made news for her recent film Kakkoos, a searing documentary about manual scavenging.

Her lawyer P Gnanavel said Bharathi and the others had prevented doctors at GR Hospital from discharging their duties on December 21, 2009. The seven were booked on charges of wrongful restraint, voluntarily hurting, trespass and disobedience to an order duly promulgated by a public servant.

“Even as the hearing in the criminal case was going on in the court, she failed to appear for two hearings,” he said. “Hence, the magistrate issued a warrant against her. After she was produced before the court, she was granted bail.”

CPI(ML) condemns her arrest

Meanwhile, the Communist Part of India (Marxist-Leninst) condemned Bharathi’s arrest.

“It is shameful that a student activist should be punished for protesting against the death of a student due to the negligent and inhuman conditions inside hostels for Dalit students,” the party said in a statement. “Such conditions prevail in Dalit hostels all over the country – in Bhojpur as well as in Bihar.”

“The CPI(ML) plans to organise protests in Tamil Nadu and elsewhere in the country against the highhandedness of the Tamil Nadu Police and upholding the right of students to protest,” the party said.

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