Tamil Nadu human rights activist held at Kempegowda International Airport

BENGALURU: The city police arrested Tamil Nadu based human rights activist Thirumurugan Gandhi early Thursday from Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) in Bengaluru, following a look out notice issued by Chennai police. Gandhi was arrested on sedition charges and later handed over to Chennai police. He was the coordinator of the May 17 Movement and has been campaigning against the police firing of protestors in Thoothukudi.

He was arrested as soon as he landed in KIA from Geneva after addressing a United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) meeting. Acting on the lookout notice, immigration department officials at KIA arrested Thirumurugan and handed him over to KIA police. Later in the afternoon the Chennai police arrived, took him into their custody and left for Chennai.  According to police, at the Geneva meet Thirumurugan had spoken about the protest by local residents against Sterlite Industries’ copper smelter plant in Thoothukudi and the subsequent police firing, which killed 13 people.

Sterlite Industries is a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources. He was also actively campaigning against the eight-lane Chennai Salem Green Corridor project. Tamil Nadu police have registered 22 cases against him for organising protests and violating prohibitory orders. Chennai police have booked Gandhi under sections 124 A (sedition), 153 A (1) and 153 (b) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race etc) of the IPC.

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