MDMK leaders Vaiko and M. Kannappan, detained Oct 21 for making speeches allegedly in support of the banned Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers, were released from judicial custody in Chennai on Thursday. Vaiko said the charges against him were "false".
"The charges against me were wrong and false. I only expressed moral support for the Tamil cause (in Sri Lanka) and did not say anything against India's unity and integrity. My stand has been more than vindicated," Vaiko said upon his release.
He also launched a bitter attack on the ruling DMK and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.
"The state and the central governments are staging a series of charades on the (Sri Lankan Tamils) issue. Obviously neither is serious about their sufferings and both are indulging in needless rhetoric. The centre spent over Rs.2,000 crore (Rs.20 billion) to underwrite Colombo's military machine while the state promises aid that will never reach the needy Tamil minority in Sri Lanka," Vaiko added.
Magistrate S. Ravi ordered that the two MDMK leaders be released unconditionally after an official told the court that police investigations were completed in the matter.
The court, however, told Vaiko to make himself available to the police and the court whenever necessary.
An MDMK spokesman said: "Our leaders were released by a magistrate since the government did not raise any objection to it or seek the extension of their judicial custody. Further, the prosecution side informed the court that its investigation was complete."
MDMK workers gathered outside the court shouted slogans in support of the Sri Lankan Tamils and decried the "political vendetta" of the ruling DMK and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.
Meanwhile, Karunanidhi reiterated his appeal to people in Tamil Nadu to donate generously to help the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
A government order, however, stipulated that public servants should declare their willingness to part with portions of their salaries in writing, in an obvious reaction to AIADMK chief J. Jayalalitha's criticism of the DMK regime that it was taking money from government servants illegally.
Vaiko and Kannappan had made allegedly seditious speeches Oct 21 in support of the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) which is outlawed in India. They were arrested under Section 124 (A) of the Indian Penal Code (sedition) by the Q Branch of the Tamil Nadu police's criminal investigation department that deals with extremist violence.
Movie directors Seeman and Ameer arrested on Oct 24 on similar charges were released on conditional bail on last Friday in Madurai.
The Congress party has demanded their re-arrest through a petition filed in the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court.