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Chennai Police delete all Youtube videos of a rights group after complaint from BJP ally

The complaint was against one video and the police have arrested four people concerned with the channel, including the owner

Sabrangindia 30 Jul 2020

videos

Human Rights Defenders’ Alert (HRDA), on July 29, wrote a letter to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) expressing concern over recent arrests of some human rights defenders in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The police have filed charges against human rights defenders and journalists Mr. Surendran Natarajan, Mr. Senthil Vasan, Mr. Somasundaram and Mr. Gagan for a 7-month old video uploaded on their YouTube channel called “Karuppar Koottam”. The channel creates social awareness videos against superstitious beliefs, women rights and Dalit rights.

As per the letter, the police have also deleted some 500 videos on the channel on topics like women rights, Dalit rights and such other social issues. The police action comes in response to a complaint filed by Paul Kanagaraj RC, Ex-president of Madras High Court Advocate Association and founder of the political party Tamil Maanila Katchi. The complaint was against a video on ‘Kanda Sashti Kavasam’ which was about the religious chants for the Hindu deity Muruga, and in their review the channel said that the chants were irrational and objectified women’s bodies.

An FIR 249/2020 was registered under IPC Sections, 153 (Wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 153 A (1) (a), (Promoting enmity between classes), 295A (Maliciously insulting the religion or the religious beliefs of any class), 505(1) (b) (False statement, rumour etc,. circulated with intent to cause mutiny or offence against the public peace), 505(2) (False statement, rumour etc., with intent to create enmity, hatred or ill-will between different classes).

The video in question was deleted by the channel yet, the cybercrime police deleted all other videos on the channel which were more than 500 in number and were all raising awareness about social issues concerning women, Dalits and so on. The HRDA statement mentions that the police did not give the channel owners any notice by the officials involved in the search at their office in T Nagar- Chennai, nor did the police have a search warrant.

On July 16, 2020, before Surendran Natarajan had surrendered, the ADSP Saravana Kumar, along with 5 policemen and a policewoman dressed in plainclothes, searched Natarajan’s residence for any documents. Natarajan’s wife, Abinaya was threatened and abused by Mr. Saravana Kumar during the house search. She was then taken to the commissioner office without any prior notice, where she was threatened by the ADSP Mr. Sarvana Kumar that she will be charged with an FIR. Fearing for his wife’s life, Natarajan surrendered to the police in Puducherry.

The letter states that this case is an example of the right to dissent and free speech being increasingly criminalised in India and is in violation of Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution which guarantees right to freedom of speech and expression. The letter further states that this incident is an example of the complete misuse of power by the cybercrime officials and states that the complaint filed by Paul Kanagaraj R C is politically motivated, following the merger with the ruling BJP.

The letter urges the NHRC to immediately intervene in this matter of the police misusing law to silence the human rights defenders and journalists and restricting their fundamental rights to expression, dignity and liberty. Through the letter, HRDA has sought directions from the NHRC to the DGP, Tamil Nadu to submit all case related documents to the Commission and also to inform the Commission on actions taken against the cybercrime police personnel who arbitrarily and illegally deleted all the videos from the YouTube channel without any intimation and orders from the court. The letter further pleads the NHRC to independently analyse the contents of the videos within the framework provided by the Supreme Court on free speech and expression on numerous occasions and according to the provisions of international law.

The complete letter may be read here.


Related:

The home ministry is using the Corona Crisis to violate human rights in UP: Sadaf Jafar

Prof Hany Babu is NIA’s 12th arrest in Bhima Koregaon case

HRDA India exposes UP Police’s tactics to muzzle voice of human rights defender Raja Bhaiyya

 

 

Chennai Police delete all Youtube videos of a rights group after complaint from BJP ally

The complaint was against one video and the police have arrested four people concerned with the channel, including the owner

videos

Human Rights Defenders’ Alert (HRDA), on July 29, wrote a letter to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) expressing concern over recent arrests of some human rights defenders in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The police have filed charges against human rights defenders and journalists Mr. Surendran Natarajan, Mr. Senthil Vasan, Mr. Somasundaram and Mr. Gagan for a 7-month old video uploaded on their YouTube channel called “Karuppar Koottam”. The channel creates social awareness videos against superstitious beliefs, women rights and Dalit rights.

As per the letter, the police have also deleted some 500 videos on the channel on topics like women rights, Dalit rights and such other social issues. The police action comes in response to a complaint filed by Paul Kanagaraj RC, Ex-president of Madras High Court Advocate Association and founder of the political party Tamil Maanila Katchi. The complaint was against a video on ‘Kanda Sashti Kavasam’ which was about the religious chants for the Hindu deity Muruga, and in their review the channel said that the chants were irrational and objectified women’s bodies.

An FIR 249/2020 was registered under IPC Sections, 153 (Wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 153 A (1) (a), (Promoting enmity between classes), 295A (Maliciously insulting the religion or the religious beliefs of any class), 505(1) (b) (False statement, rumour etc,. circulated with intent to cause mutiny or offence against the public peace), 505(2) (False statement, rumour etc., with intent to create enmity, hatred or ill-will between different classes).

The video in question was deleted by the channel yet, the cybercrime police deleted all other videos on the channel which were more than 500 in number and were all raising awareness about social issues concerning women, Dalits and so on. The HRDA statement mentions that the police did not give the channel owners any notice by the officials involved in the search at their office in T Nagar- Chennai, nor did the police have a search warrant.

On July 16, 2020, before Surendran Natarajan had surrendered, the ADSP Saravana Kumar, along with 5 policemen and a policewoman dressed in plainclothes, searched Natarajan’s residence for any documents. Natarajan’s wife, Abinaya was threatened and abused by Mr. Saravana Kumar during the house search. She was then taken to the commissioner office without any prior notice, where she was threatened by the ADSP Mr. Sarvana Kumar that she will be charged with an FIR. Fearing for his wife’s life, Natarajan surrendered to the police in Puducherry.

The letter states that this case is an example of the right to dissent and free speech being increasingly criminalised in India and is in violation of Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution which guarantees right to freedom of speech and expression. The letter further states that this incident is an example of the complete misuse of power by the cybercrime officials and states that the complaint filed by Paul Kanagaraj R C is politically motivated, following the merger with the ruling BJP.

The letter urges the NHRC to immediately intervene in this matter of the police misusing law to silence the human rights defenders and journalists and restricting their fundamental rights to expression, dignity and liberty. Through the letter, HRDA has sought directions from the NHRC to the DGP, Tamil Nadu to submit all case related documents to the Commission and also to inform the Commission on actions taken against the cybercrime police personnel who arbitrarily and illegally deleted all the videos from the YouTube channel without any intimation and orders from the court. The letter further pleads the NHRC to independently analyse the contents of the videos within the framework provided by the Supreme Court on free speech and expression on numerous occasions and according to the provisions of international law.

The complete letter may be read here.


Related:

The home ministry is using the Corona Crisis to violate human rights in UP: Sadaf Jafar

Prof Hany Babu is NIA’s 12th arrest in Bhima Koregaon case

HRDA India exposes UP Police’s tactics to muzzle voice of human rights defender Raja Bhaiyya

 

 

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