In yet another major embarrassment to the ruling DMK government, the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court today quashed the FIR registered by the Melapalayam police in Tirunelveli against popular YouTuber Maridhas.
Melapalayam police had booked Maridhas based on a complaint lodged by the Islamist outfit Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam. The YouTuber was booked under various Sections of the Indian Penal Code.
Earlier last week, the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court quashed the FIR registered against him by the Madurai police for his controversial tweet in which he has highlighted celebratory tweets on the death of Chief of the Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat in a chopper accident in Coonoor and expresses concern on the rise of secessionist tendencies on the state.
Maridhas was charge-sheeted and arrested based on a FIR was filed by a member of DMK IT cell.
Maridhas was booked under Sections 124 (A) (sedition), 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 505 (1) (b) (with intent to cause fear or alarm to the public) and 505 (2) (statements creating or promoting enmity) of the IPC.
Justice GR Swaminathan of the Madurai bench of Madras high court quashed the FIR noting that the offences mentioned in it were not made in out in the tweet. The judge also made some scathing remarks on the frivolous nature of the FIR
Ever since the party returned to power in May this year, DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam).
DMK functionaries have been openly issuing both open and veiled threat to Maridhas through their social media accounts.
Maridhas is young, independent and influential voice on Tamil social media whose videos on YouTube have been garnering significant attention of late.
Maridhas, who initially took to Facebook to counter what he calls as malicious an misleading campaigns against the Centre, has long argued that criticism against any administration should be based on facts, data, and statistics.
He has been particularly critical of the various Tamil nationalist and separatist elements who have sought to keep the state permanently on the boil.
His videos on YouTube – hosted on a channel called Maridhas Answers – frequently garners views upwards of a lakh.
Maridhas also runs a hugely popular Facebook page. The hallmark of his videos and posts are the extensive coverage of facts, with independent verification through information in the public domain.
This is in sharp contrast to the type of investigative journalism pursued in Tamil mainstream media, notably weeklies like Junior Vikatan and Nakkeeran, which have sections devoted to gossip and innuendo about the personal peccadilloes of celebrities and politicians.
Even political news is often camouflaged with unsubstantiated rumours.
In this environment, Maridhas’ calm reasoning, submission of facts and logic have come as a breath of fresh air. His videos and Facebook posts are sought after by the social media-savvy younger generation.
However, this has brought eyeballs to his content as well as the ire of the politicians.
Encouraged by the success, Maridhas has frequently criticised the DMK.
With a 70-year legacy, many years of experience gathered through long stints in the government, both in the state and in the centre, large business interests such as the Sun media empire, healthcare and education businesses, 100 MLAs and 38 MPs of their alliance currently in the Parliament, this is truly a formidable entity to stand up to.
The party has a long history of intimidating its opponents in the media. In fact, in their internecine warfare, three members of the media were burnt alive, in Maridhas’ own city, Maduraiby party functionaries.
In March, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court today awarded life sentences to nine DMK functionaries including ‘Attack’ Pandi, for setting ablaze ‘Dinakaran’ newspaper office in 2007 and killing three employees.
Maridhas has also faced such threats on social media.
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