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Chennai Scribe Held for Article on Student's Death, Released on Bail

The journalist has been accused of spreading misleading information regarding the death of a Class 12 student.

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Senior journalist and editor of the website Aram Online Savitri Kannan was picked up from his Chennai residence by Kallakurichi police on Sunday, 11 September.

The journalist has been accused of spreading misleading information regarding the death of a Class 12 student of Kaniyamoor Sakthi Matriculation School in Chinnasalem, Kallakurichi district in July this year.

Savitri was informed that he would be questioned regarding his recent article on Aram Online, which claimed that the suicide note recovered from the Kallakurichi student was fake and that its lack of authenticity was confirmed by Forensic Sciences Department officials.

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According to initial reports, police officers visited Savitri’s residence in Shastri Nagar, Chennai on Sunday morning, and asked him to accompany them to the Shastri Nagar police station. The journalist was released on bail a few hours later.

Speaking to TNM, Savitri Kannan said that police officers informed him that he was being picked up for questioning for allegedly spreading misleading information.

'Cops Said Four FIRs Were Registered Against Me'

“The police are taking me to Tindivanam. They told me that an FIR (first information report) is registered against me under four sections for spreading false information,” he said on Sunday afternoon.

There was no official statement from Kallakurichi police as of Sunday evening about the charges on which the senior journalist was picked up from his house, and the reason for moving him towards Kallakurichi.

Savitri’s wife wrote a post on social media regarding the police action, in which she said, “Kallakurichi police arrested my husband at 11 am this morning. They gave no reason for the arrest. Kallakurichi police have seized Savitri’s phone. They even attempted to take our son into custody, but let him go later.”

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The Chennai Press Club issued a statement strongly condemning Savitri’s arrest. “The state government must protect democracy. They should not use the police for authoritarian measures. The Chennai Journalists' Forum strongly condemns the arrest of Savitri Kannan. Hon'ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu must immediately intervene in this matter and ensure the release of arrested senior journalist Savitri Kannan,” the statement said.

It also alleged that the police officers who arrested Savitri barged into his house in plain clothes.

On 13 July, the 17-year-old girl was found dead on the premises of the Kaniyamoor Sakthi Matriculation School in Kallakurichi. Her family had protested outside the school alleging foul play in her death for a few days.

While the protests remained peaceful at first, they took a violent turn on 17 July after hundreds of people breached the school walls and caused heavy destruction to school property, demanding justice for the student. The case caught the attention of the entire state, including prominent YouTube channels, which circulated many unsubstantiated theories about the student’s death.

(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)

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Topics:  Chennai   Journalist Arrested 

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