Social media admin held for posting meme against DMK regime's scheme; Oppn. slams move
The intention of the tweeted clip appeared to criticise the government's proposed eligibility norm
Administrator of a Twitter handle was arrested by police at Chennai on Wednesday for denigrating women by tweeting a video clip, a meme which is intended to criticise the DMK regime's eligibility norm to avail the Rs 1,000 assistance to women heads of families.
The police action led to a political furore with the principal opposition AIADMK and its ally the BJP strongly condemning the action, even as "#ArrestMeToo stalin" trended on Twitter. Police said the man was arrested for denigrating women by posting the meme.
Using a comedy scene from a decades-old Tamil movie, the social media influencer handle 'Voice of Savukku Shankar' embossed the names of Chief Minister MK Stalin and Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan on the comedy characters.
In the state budget presented on Monday, Rajan had announced Rs 1000 monthly assistance to eligible women heads of families, implementing the DMK's poll-time assurance made in 2021.
The original comedy, featuring top Tamil actors Goundamani and Senthil, is considered by many people as offensive and in bad taste as it appeared to belitttle women if they are not young and glamourous. Still, it is popular.
The intention of the tweeted clip appeared to criticise the government's proposed eligibility norm, which is expected to be based on the economic criterion.
The AIADMK had time and again hit out at the government for promising the assistance to all women heads of families ahead of the 2021 Assembly election and now coming up with the condition of eligibility to avail the benefit.
BJP Tamil Nadu unit president K Annamalai tweeted: "Democracy turns into autocracy when powers are concentrated within one family & becomes a state of dictatorship in no time. The @arivalayam (DMK) govt is rattled by the slightest criticism & has displayed its dictatorial behaviour by arresting a person for a social media post."
"If posting a troll video deserves an arrest, the entire DMK IT wing should be behind bars as it is their full-time profession. Surprisingly, @tnpoliceoffl has arrested @voiceofsavukku at the behest of DMK despite knowing that the offence (if any) doesn't deserve it," he said.
"Curtailing freedom of expression, midnight arrests & self advertisements with no achievements to back them are true traits of a fascist, Thiru @mkstalin," he added.
AIADMK spokesperson Kovai Sathyan retweeted the clip and posted #ArrestMeToo_Stalin, apparently in solidarity with the arrested person Pradeep.
Savukku Shankar, a well-known critic of the DMK regime condemned the arrest and on his Twitter handle he too posted the 'arrest me' hashtag. He said Pradeep, his supporter and administrator, was 'remanded in judicial custody for 15 days.'
Hitting out at Shankar, Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan said, "I've ignored the paranoia of this fantasist, but this is 100% lunacy so I will react". He denied he had anything to do with the arrest.
"a) I had no idea this handle existed, so have not seen the video, nor complained. b) When "criticism" of the State Budget by a suspended DVAC clerk (an apparent reference to Shankar) start to bother me...I'll quit public life," he said in a tweet.
BJP's Khusbu Sundar tweeted: "The spineless @arivalayam govt is indulging in outright suppression of people's voices. Shocked to note that they can't handle even memes. Conspicuous signs of a weak govt. If they are arresting bcoz allegedly someone had represented woman badly, what about your own men who keep bad mouthing women everyday? Any plans to arrest them @mkstalin avl?"
'Avl' is a Tamil word's (Avargal) abbreviation denoting respect.