Gandhi and Marimuthu
Madurai, Tamil Nadu
HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on September 14, 2021, regarding the arrest of human rights defenders Mr. Gandhi and Mr. Marimuthu for a Facebook post calling for peaceful protest during the visit of the President of India to Tamil Nadu.
Mr. Gandhi and Mr. Marimuthu are HRDs associated with Elu Tamilar Vitutalai Katchi a movement working for linguistic rights, minority rights, and against torture in Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu State Cabinet recommended the release of seven persons who were convicted for their role in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and passed a unanimous resolution for the same. This was sent to Governor Banwarilal Purohit for his assent. Governor Purohit suggested that the President was the competent authority to decide on the issue.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Mr. MK Stalin requested President Mr. Ram Nath Kovind for the immediate release of the seven convicts. After this incident on August 1, Mr. Gandhi in a Facebook post called for raising black flags during the President’s visit to Tamil Nadu on August 2, 2021, and also stage a silent protest. The same day three policemen from Koodal Pudur police station went to the homes of Mr. Gandhi and Mr. Marimuthu and arrested them without any arrest warrant. Police later filed FIR against them under Section 151 along with Criminal Law Amendment Act 193 under section 7(1) (a). They were granted bail on August 8, 2021.
The arrest and FIR against Mr. Gandhi and Mr. Marimuthu are completely arbitrary, illegal, and a serious violation of the constitutionally guaranteed right to free assembly and expression which mentioned under Article 19 (1) (a) and (b) as well as also a violation of their life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. It is violation of the DK Basu guidelines wherein no arrest warrant or memo was shown before arresting the accused.