A Chennai court on Friday sentenced Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam General Secretary V Gopalaswamy, popularly known as Vaiko, to one year in jail in connection with a sedition case filed against him in 2009. The senior politician from Tamil Nadu was found guilty under section 124 A (sedition) and a fine of Rs 10,000 was also imposed on him, Hindustan Times reported.
“Unless there is venom in the mind of the judge, such punishment would not have been given,” The New Indian Express quoted Vaiko as saying after the judgement was read out. He also said that he will “continue talking” and asked for the maximum punishment.
Vaiko was sentenced for comments he had made during the launch of his book. “India will not remain one country if the war against the LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] in Sri Lanka is not stopped,” he had said during the launch of his book Naan Kuttram Saatugiren... (I am accusing...), according to NDTV. He has been a staunch supporter of the LTTE and other outfits fighting for a separate Tamil country in Sri Lanka.
The Dravida Munnetra Kazgham had filed the case after he made the remarks. Police in Tamil Nadu had registered the case under Indian Penal Code Sections 124 A and 153 A or promoting enmity between different groups against the MDMK leader for his speech on October 21, 2008.
Earlier this week, Vaiko was named the Rajya Sabha candidate by the DMK alliance in Tamil Nadu. He was supposed to file his nomination on Saturday, marking his return to Parliament after 15 years, but it is unclear now if he can stand for the Rajya Sabha.
Vaiko was also arrested by former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK government in 2002 under the anti-terror Prevention of Terrorism Act for his speech in support of the banned LTTE. The politician had to spend almost a year in the Vellore prison. In 2014, the case against him was withdrawn, according to NDTV.