Published: 02nd January 2020
'Kolam' protests: TN police to probe Pak links of protester detained at Chennai
The Chennai Police Commissioner said that Gayatri Khandhadai, a lawyer and researcher was associated with Bytes for All, a Pakistani human rights organisation and think-tank
Amid all the furore over the kolam protests that Chennai witnessed last week, the Chennai police are probing a female anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protester for her alleged links with Pakistan, said a top police official.
Chennai Police Commissioner AK Viswanathan said as per Gayatri Khandhadai's Facebook profile, she is a researcher with the 'Bytes for All' which is linked with the Association of All Pakistan Citizen Journalists. He added that the police will probe the extent of her Pakistan links.
Bytes for All (B4U), whose website was accessed by Edexlive, calls itself a ‘Pakistani human rights organization and a research think tank with a focus on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)’ that promotes ‘the use of technology for sustainable development, democracy and social justice.’
Edexlive also accessed an article by Khandhadai titled Desecrating Expression: An account of freedom of expression and religion in Asia which was published by Bytes for All and other research organisations like Thailand-based FORUM-ASIA, UK-based Global Partners Digital and South Africa-based APC or Association for Progressive Communications. The article focuses on the intersection between the right to freedom of expression and the right to freedom of religion in nine Asian countries– Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
Last Sunday, six women including Khandhadai had protested against the CAA by drawing 'kolam' in a locality here after police denied permission.
Viswanathan said the police took them into custody on Sunday when they drew 'kolams' outside a home to which an elderly resident objected resulting in heated exchanges. The police took them into custody as they drew the 'kolam' without the house owner’s permission.
Viswanathan said nobody was detained for drawing a 'kolam'. The six women later met DMK President M.K. Stalin at the party headquarters.
On Monday, 'kolams', along with the slogan "No CAA-NRC", were drawn outside the homes of DMK President M.K. Stalin and his sister Kanimozhi, who is also a Lok Sabha MP, as well as outside the residence of their late father M. Karunanidhi.
An anti-CAA and anti-NRC 'kolam' was also drawn outside the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President K.S. Alagiri's house on Monday.
On Tuesday, Lok Sabha MP and VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan surprised people by drawing a big 'kolam' or 'rangoli'-style design outside his residence here that carried a "No CAA" slogan.
On Wednesday 'kolams' in support of the CAA were drawn outside several homes in Cuddalore district on New Year's Day. The colourful 'kolams' had slogans saying "We support the CAA and NRC".