Journalist held in Tamil Nadu, press body cries foul

Updated on Jan 13, 2020 02:15 AM IST

In a statement, the Chennai Press Club said that Anbazhagan removed his bookstall but BAPASI officials lodged a false complaint against him.

The Chennai Police arrested a journalist on Sunday, a day after he displayed a book on the state government’s alleged corrupt activities at a book fair, the Chennai Press Club said(Reuters File Photo)
The Chennai Police arrested a journalist on Sunday, a day after he displayed a book on the state government’s alleged corrupt activities at a book fair, the Chennai Press Club said(Reuters File Photo)
Hindustan Times, Chennai | ByM Manikandan

The Chennai Police arrested a journalist on Sunday, a day after he displayed a book on the state government’s alleged corrupt activities at a book fair, the Chennai Press Club said. Police officials, however, said journalist V Anbazhagan’s arrest was not linked to his book.

The 13-day Chennai Book Fair, where the book titled ‘Corruption Book of Chennai Corporation’ was displayed, is being organised by the Book Sellers and Publishers Association (BAPASI) in Nandanam. Anbazhagan had said that in his book he has used Right to Information (RTI) replies to highlight the alleged misappropriation of funds by the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) government.

“Anbazhagan had set up a stall at the book fair but authorities asked BAPASI to ensure that the stall is removed,” said Bharathi Tamizhan, joint secretary of the Chennai Press Club.

In a statement, the Chennai Press Club said that Anbazhagan removed his bookstall but BAPASI officials lodged a false complaint against him. “The case is fabricated. Targeting someone who sells books against the government is an attack on freedom of expression,” it said in a statement.

BAPASI maintained that the journalist had threatened one of its members. “We asked Anbazhagan to remove the stall as he did not follow any norms of BAPASI. He then threatened our secretary Murugan, after which a police complaint was lodged against him,” BAPASI president RS Shanmugam said.

The police have booked Anbazhagan under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 341(Punishment for wrongful restraint Punishment for wrongful restraint), 506 (2) (Punishment for criminal intimidation) and 294(b) (punishment singing, reciting or uttering any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place)

“We have not arrested Anbazhagan for his books. He was held for threatening Murugan,“ a senior police official said on condition of anonymity.

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