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Vaiko held on sedition charge

National, Thu, 23 Oct 2008 IANS

Chennai, Oct 23 (IANS) MDMK leader Vaiko was arrested here Thursday on sedition charges for his vocal support for the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and a court sent him to 14-day judicial custody.


'Vaiko has been charged under Section 124 (A) of the Indian Penal Code (waging seditious war against the government) and under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for supporting the LTTE,' a senior official said.



Arrested from his residence in northwestern part of the city in the afternoon, Vaiko was taken to a magistrate's court under heavy police protection by the Tamil Nadu police's 'Q' Branch that deals with extremist violence.



He was sent to the high-security Puzhal prison under heavy police escort, police officials said.



MDMK presidium chief Kannappan was also arrested from Coimbtore district in the evening and sent to jail.



Vaiko had asked the central government to cut off diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka in retaliation for its military action against the LTTE and openly canvassed support for terrorist group.



Elsewhere in the city, dozens of lawyers blocked traffic outside the Madras High Court shouting slogans against the Congress party which had demanded the arrest of those film directors who have called for an armed separatist rebellion in Tamil Nadu to garner support for the Tamil homeland in northern Sri Lanka.



Vidhuthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi leader Thol Thirumavalavan and hundreds of his supporters were arrested earlier in the day for blocking rail traffic demanding India stop Sri Lanka's military operations following the ethnic conflict in the island nation.



Thirumavalavan and his party cadres were arrested all over Tamil Nadu as a preventive measure and were let off later, officials said.



Two railway bogies were set fire to in Madurai, 400 km south of here, by unidentified protesters.



'We could not put out the fire immediately as the compartments were hemmed in from both sides by high parapet walls. However, the flames have been doused now. We are on the lookout for the culprits,' N. Balakrishnan, an official, told reporters at the spot.



Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission here was under heavy police security following an attack by a group of students that damaged glass panes of a few windows.



The mission is situated about a kilometre away from the residences of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and Leader of Opposition J. Jayalalitha.



Deputy High Commissioner P. Amza was away in Colombo, diplomatic sources said.



Nobody was hurt in the stone-pelting, police said.



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