Folk Singer’s Arrest Shows India’s Free Speech Problem
By Human Rights Watch - Tue Apr 17, 8:30 pm
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S. Kovan in the video of one of his controversial songs.
Police in India’s southern Tamil Nadu state arrested well-known folk singer S. Kovan last week for singing a song at a protest meeting that criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The arrest was in response to a complaint filed by a supporter of Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Kovan, whose music video of the song went viral on YouTube, is currently out on bail, but is charged with promoting communal enmity and disturbing “public tranquility.”
With his controversial songs and provocative lyrics, Kovan, a member of the Makkal Kalai Ilakkiya Kazhagam, or People’s Art and Literary Association, is no stranger to the wrath of the authorities….