Expression of support to LTTE not an offence: MK

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Chennai, Feb 18: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today reiterated that the Supreme court had observed that mere expression of support to a banned organisation like the LTTE was not an offence.

Reacting to Ms Jayalalithaa's challenge whether he could quote the apex court order to this effect, he said when the issue was raised in the Assembly on January 29, he had given a detailed reply and the same was published in an English daily. Being a former Chief Minister, Ms Jayalalithaa could have obtained a copy of the order in the POTA case from her lawyers and studied it properly before throwing the challenge.

He said when Congress member C Gnanasekaran raised the issue and demanded action against Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) leader Thol Thirumavalavan for organising a conference in support of LTTE, the Government could not take any hasty action as the apex court itself had said mere expression of support to a banned organisation would not be liable for penal action.

When Ms Jayalalithaa came to the House the next day and countered him saying he had misled the House by incorrectly citing the Supreme Court judgment, Law and Public Works Minister Duraimurugan read out the relevant portions of the order, but she was not willing to listen.

In an interview to an English daily, he had given details of the Supreme Court order, but Ms Jayalalithaa was repeatedly raising the issue without reading the judgment properly, Mr Karunanidhi said.

The order produced by Mr Justices S Rajendra Babu and G P Mathur stated - offence under Section 3(1) of POTA will be constituted only if it is done with an 'intent'.

If Parliament stipulates that the 'Terrorist Act' itself had to be committed with the criminal intention, can it be said that a person who 'professes' (as under Section 20) or 'invites support' or 'arranges, manages, or assists in arranging or managing a meeting' or 'addresses a meeting' (as under Section 21) has committed the offence if he does not have an intention or design to further the activities of any terrorist organisation or the commission of Terrorist Acts? We are clear that it is not.

Mr Karunanidhi further quoted the order, which said ''therefore, it is obvious that the offence under Section 20 or 21 or 22 needs positive inference that a person has acted with intent of furthering or encouraging terrorist activity or facilitating its commission. In other words, these Sections are limited only to those activities that have the intent of encouraging or furthering or promoting or facilitating the commission of terrorist activities. If these Sections are understood in this way, there cannot be any misuse,'' he said quoting the judgment.

However, Ms Jayalalithaa had launched a disinformation campaign and was trying to blame him for everyting, whether it rained or shined in the State, in a bid to remove the Government and come back to power, he said.

The AIADMK leader could not digest the continuance of DMK in power as she was scared that it would take credit for implementing a number of projects fulfilling the needs of various sections of the soceity, including farmers and working class.

She was also scared that the DMK, if allowed to continue in power, would take credit for implementing the Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project, Metro Rail project, provide 20 lakh jobs in new industries, take IT industries to tier II towns, interlink rivers in the State and implement the Ramanathapuram and Hogenekal integrated water supply schemes, Mr Karunanidhi said.

She was desperate in capturing power to lead a luxury life and that was why she had repeatedly appeal to the Centre to sack the DMK Government, he charged, adding she, however, could not hoodwink the people of the State.

UNI

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