Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) chief Vaiko was sentenced to 15 days in judicial custody on Monday in a sedition case registered in 2009.
The case was filed by Chennai Police after the mercurial politician, known for his grandiloquent speeches, said that India would struggle to remain united if the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka was not stopped.
A first information report was filed under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act against Vaiko, who had also been slapped with charges of inciting people to indulge in violence in 2009.
Vaiko was produced before a magistrates’ court in the Tamil Nadu state capital earlier on Monday and was subsequently remanded to judicial custody without bail. His passport has also been seized.
A staunch supporter of the terrorist group since his days in the DMK, Vaiko made several statements in the past supporting the group during the bloody Sri Lankan civil war, which saw numerous civilian casualties especially amongst its Tamil population in its final years.
The MDMK leader had warned that a “bloodbath” would occur in Tamil Nadu if anything happened to the then LTTE leader V Prabhakaran, and added that there was nothing wrong in the youth of the state taking up arms and joining the Tamil Tigers in its fight against the Sri Lankan army.
The Sri Lankan civil war and the LTTE have long been contentious issues among certain political groups and organisation in Tamil Nadu, with Vaiko’s MDMK being among the most prominent.
While the Indian government has always considered the LTTE to be a terrorist organisation, especially after the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 by one of its operatives, in Tamil Nadu Prabhakaran and his organisation are viewed more sympathetically.