The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The Hindu knocks on PM door

Chennai, Nov. 7: Amid mounting all-round opposition to the Tamil Nadu Assembly’s privilege move today, the editor-in-chief of The Hindu has apprised the Prime Minister of the “challenge to democracy and freedom of expression”.

A furious . Ram told reporters tonight that the issue at hand was not just the sentence of simple imprisonment handed to five workers of The Hindu, but the future of democracy and freedom of the press in the state.

Ram said it was “atrocious” of the police to enter the newspaper’s premises without proper documents. He accused them of behaving badly at the home of associate editor, V. Jayanth, one of those sentenced.

Dubbing the day a “black day” for the press and democracy, DMK chief M. Karunanidhi said the sentencing was a fit case for the Centre to dismiss the state government. But he added he would not personally take up the issue with the Centre.

S. Selvam, the editor-publisher of his party mouthpiece, Murasoli, too has been sentenced. The ADMK regime, Karunanidhi said, had “outdone Hitler, Mussolini, Rasputin and Goebbels”.

Ram said lawyers of his company were handling the situation triggered by what he dubbed the ADMK regime’s “intolerance”. “We will not move for bail, but fight for the revocation of the sentence legally,” he said. Of those sentenced, only DMK MLA Paruthi Ilamvazhuthi — punished in another privilege move — has been lodged in jail.

There is no official word on The Hindu five — editor .Ravi, executive editor Malini Parthasarathy, publisher S. Rangarajan, special correspondent Radha Venkatesan and Jayanth. Selvam is said to be out of town. Opposition MLAs, including DMK’s M.K. Stalin and PMK leaders, who were arrested today for protesting outside the secretariat were let off late tonight.

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