Activist Thirumurugan Gandhi Released on Bail After 53 Days in Tamil Nadu Prison

The convenor of the civil rights group May 17 Movement was arrested on August 9 from Bengaluru airport following a lookout notice issued by the Tamil Nadu police.

New Delhi: Fifty-three days after Thirumurugan Gandhi was booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and sent to prison, the convenor of the civil rights group called the May 17 Movement was on Tuesday released on bail.

According to Scroll.in, Gandhi was released at 5 pm from Vellore Central Jail on Tuesday following a release order passed by the Tamil Nadu court.  The activist has several cases registered against him, including the charge of sedition for protesting against Vedanta’s Sterlite plant in Thoothukudi and the Chennai-Salem Green corridor.

Gandhi was arrested on August 9 from Bengaluru airport following a lookout notice issued by the Tamil Nadu police. He had just arrived from Geneva, where he attended a United Nations Human Rights Council meeting and raised the issue of anti-Sterlite protests and subsequent police firing. While he was later set free by the magistrate, which refused to remand him to judicial custody, within hours of his release the Chennai police arrested Gandhi for an earlier case filed on August 10.

During his incarceration, the activist, according to his lawyer C. Arun Kumar, was forced to travel 9,200 kms in connection with the various cases levelled against him in different districts of the state, Times of India reported.

Thirumurugan Gandhi upon his release from Vellore prison. Credit: Twitter/@May17Movement

The police claimed the 42-year-old activist has expressed solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle and supported Tamil Eelam – a proposed independent state for Tamils in Sri Lanka – at a 2014 meeting, reported Scroll.in. While in jail, Gandhi was not allowed to interact with other prisoners.

Upon his release yesterday, Gandhi addressed the media and alleged that the Tamil Nadu government, under the influence of BJP at the Centre, was presiding over an anti-people regime and stifling dissent. “Being a transparent and democratic movement reflecting the anger and anxieties of the Tamil people, May 17 Movement is ready to face any situation to bring a democratic rule to the state,” the activist said.

(With PTI inputs)