NEW DELHI: A popular folk singer was arrested in southern India on Friday for allegedly writing and singing a song that criticised the local government over state-owned liquor shops, his lawyer said.
Kovan, known in Tamil Nadu for his songs against alcoholism, was arrested overnight at his residence after police found a video of the song allegedly condemning the state’s popular leader, Jayalalithaa Jayaram.
“Kovan was arrested around 2:30 am (2100 GMT) because he sang a song and it was uploaded on social media,” Jim Raj Milton, a lawyer for the singer, whose real name is S. Sivadas, told AFP by phone.
“It was regarding government-owned liquor shops and he condemned the government and Jayalalithaa,” he said, adding that his client had been taken to the state capital Chennai and charged with sedition, promoting enmity and defamation.
Chief Minister Jayaram, 67, enjoys huge popularity in Tamil Nadu where fans know her simply as “Amma” (Mother) and ministers have been known to prostrate themselves before her.
The former film star has earned the loyalty of many voters with a series of populist schemes, including an “Amma canteen” that provides lunch for just three rupees (five US cents).
During last year’s general election campaign, she garnered huge support by handing out freebies including electric blenders, goats and small amounts of gold.
Kovan will likely remain in prison until Monday, when his bail petition is scheduled to be heard, Milton said.