Political analyst and journalist Badri Seshadri’s arrest has sparked outrage online and now Madras Reporters Guild has condemned Seshadri’s arrest. It is notable that Badri Seshadri was arrested for his alleged ‘derogatory’ comments on Manipur unrest.
The Guild, also known as Chennai Nirubargal Sangam, demanded that Seshadri be released immediately, asserting that there is no reason to arrest him for his statements, no matter how distasteful or even disparaging they may be.
The government has the option of filing a case against the writer and letting the law run its course, rather than resorting to arrest, which violates freedom of expression as well as civil liberties, the guild said.
In matters of contempt of court, it is up to the courts to take whatever action they see fit. The Guild expressed worry over the approach of governments across the country, including BJP and non-BJP administrations, to “straightaway arrest persons for comments in the media and social media” instead of taking the prosecution route.
The guild urged Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin to expedite Seshadri’s release and to direct the police not to arrest anybody for making public comments about current events.
“Arrest should be used only as a last resort and only based on final court judgements after the due legal process has been followed.”
It is pertinent to note that a Kunnam judicial magistrate court has sent Badri Seshadri to judicial custody till August 11. Seshadri is currently lodged at Trichy central prison. Seshadri was arrested after a complaint was lodged by an advocate P Kaviarasu from Kadoor in Perambalur district.
As reported earlier, Seshadri was arrested early Saturday from his Chennai home following his statements about the Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud in connection with Manipur violence.
“Yesterday, the Supreme Court like a big…I don’t know what words to say. ‘If you can’t do it (contain the violence), we will get down and do it.’ We should give a gun in the hand of Chandrachud (Chief Justice of India) and ask him to go there and do what he can to restore peace. Simply, talking anything without relation,” he had reportedly said.
“Can you (judiciary) enter into the realm of governance? What fault did you find in what is being done [by the government] there [to restore normalcy]? Two groups are fighting. It is a hilly terrain. A complex land. In that, a few murders will happen. Why did they fight? Could we have prevented the reason for the two groups fighting? It can’t be done easily,” Seshadri was quoted as saying.