Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Rajya Sabha MP RS Bharathi was arrested early on Saturday for alleged derogatory remarks he made in February against judges from the Dalit community, News18 reported. Bharathi, who is the DMK organisational secretary, was arrested from his residence in Chennai’s Nanganallur area. He was granted interim bail a few hours later, ANI reported.
The police have filed a case against Bharathi under the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
On February 15, Bharathi spoke at a Kalaignar Readers’ Circle event at Anbagam, the DMK Youth Wing headquarters in Chennai. During his speech, he claimed that Dalits were appointed High Court judges in Tamil Nadu because of the “alms” given by the Dravidian movement.
“Now again, they [Brahmins] are back in court,” Bharati has said. “I am telling you out of angst, the Supreme Court has become an RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] centre.” The RSS is the ideological parent of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Following outrage on social media, Bharathi apologised, claiming that his only intention was to highlight the good work Kalaignar (former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi) had done for “oppressed persons”.
Before his arrest, Bharathi told media persons that vendetta politics was being practised against him. “A particular group on social media campaigned against me with that speech,” he said about his remarks in February, according to The News Minute. “The next day, I responded to that. It has been 100 days since then. Today early morning they came to arrest me.”
Bharathi claimed that he had been suddenly arrested because on Friday evening he filed a complaint against Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Pannerselvam for corruption. He said his legal team was also in the process of filing another complaint, against minister SP Velumani, for allegedly purchasing bleaching powder worth around Rs 200 crore for use as disinfectant in Coimbatore, amid the coronavirus outbreak.