Madras HC Quashes FIR Against YouTuber Over ‘TN Turning Into Kashmir’ Tweet
YouTuber Maridhas was arrested over a tweet that was posted after the death of Chief of Defense staff Bipin Rawat.
The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday, 14 December, quashed the FIR against controversial YouTuber Maridhas, who was arrested for a tweet alleging that Tamil Nadu is “turning into another Kashmir under DMK rule." The tweet, which was later deleted, was posted a day after the death of Chief of Defense staff Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 others in a helicopter crash in Coonoor.
The police had shared a screenshot of the tweet, where Maridhas claimed that the state gives freedom “to create a group that can do any level of treason against the country.”
He also claimed that “it is possible for any kind of plot to be hatched here.” Maridhas’s tweet came a day after the IAF chopper crashed in Coonoor, killing CDS Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 others. The tweet has now been deleted, but not before it was noticed by users and screenshots were circulated on social media.
In another tweet, Maridhas claimed that DMK is the “best choice for separatist forces” and that “many DMK supporters were seen mocking the death of an army commander in an accident.” This tweet was still accessible, at the time of writing.
Madurai police confirmed to TNM that Maridhas has been booked under sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and 505(2) (making statements with intent to cause public mischief, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public) of the Indian Penal Code. It is to be noted that neither the Defence Forces nor the government has hinted at any foul play, a tri-services inquiry has been launched to investigate the crash.
His controversial tweets came a day after an Indian Air Force Mi-17VH helicopter crashed and went up in flames, killing 63-year-old Chief of Defence Staff Rawat who was on his way to the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) in Wellington to address faculty and student officers, his wife Madhulika and 11 others.
Maridhas Moves High Court
Maridhas had moved the Madurai bench seeking a stay on the trial against him and protection from any further action. Maridhas’s counsel submitted to the court that Maridhas often critiques the government and that he has been arrested in order to silence him. The counsel submitted that the case filed against him is baseless and there is no proof against him. After hearing arguments, the Madurai bench quashed the case against him, holding that the sections filed against him will not be held valid.
YouTuber Maridhas is not new to controversy. Last year, in April, Maridhas was booked by the Tirunelveli police for stoking communal sentiment based on a complaint against his videos about the coronavirus. Maridhas had claimed that “coronavirus is being deliberately spread by terrorists to murder innocents across the world.”
In July, Maridhas was also in the news for his targeted campaign against journalists at television channel News18 Tamil Nadu, where he accused their journalists of being ‘anti-Hindu’ and alleging that they had direct and indirect connections with political outfits.
News18 and their Tamil channel’s then Editor-in-chief Gunasekaran had sued Maridhas for defamation and later the Madras High Court had instructed the YouTuber to stop publishing any further videos defaming TV18 Broadcast Limited on his social media pages. Maridhas later agreed to compromise terms with News18, however Gunasekharan’s case is still on.
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