Karthik Gopinath, a prominent Tamil YouTuber who runs the Ilaya Bharatham YouTube channel, was arrested by the Tamil Nadu police on Monday (May 30, 2022).
Karthik, who identifies himself as a nationalist, is known for his videos criticising the DMK.
He has reportedly been arrested over the issue of raising money for temples at Siruvachur in the Perambalur district.
In October and November 2021, miscreants had vandalised the Periyasamy–Chelliyamman Temple and the Sengamalayar Temple on different occasions. Miscreants had also vandalised the idols of temples associated with the Madurakaliamman temple, which falls under the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments department.
It was reported that Karthik Gopinath had collected funds through the fund-raising app Milaap to renovate the desecrated temples at Siruvachur.
However, there has been debate over his collection of money for a temple under HR&CE control.
Elements supportive of the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu have used the issue to launch a witch-hunt against the YouTuber.
A police complaint was filed, following which Karthik was arrested on the morning of May 30. He has been charged with sections 420 and 409 of the India Penal Code.
BJP Tamil Nadu President K. Annamalai has condemned the arrest, stating that the DMK government in Tamil Nadu is resorting to intimidating tactics to muzzle the voices of critics.
As usual @arivalayam is resorting to intimidatory tactics when under pressure. The arrest of Shri. @karthikgnath on completely trumped charges is not only condemnable but also shows the level to which this Govt will go to silence an uncomfortable voice.
— K.Annamalai (@annamalai_k) May 30, 2022
YouTuber Maridhas extended solidarity, stating that the arrest of Karthik Gopinath is condemnable.
சகோதரர் கார்த்திக் கோபிநாத் கைது வன்மையாக கண்டிக்கதக்கது.
— Maridhas (@MaridhasAnswers) May 30, 2022
This is not the first time the Tamil Nadu police have gone after critics of the ruling DMK.
Earlier, Maridhas was arrested by the Tamil Nadu police for a video about Tablighi Jamaat and a tweet that came in the light of the late Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat.
However, the DMK government received a knock on the head from the Madras High Court, which quashed the FIRs registered against the YouTuber.
Prior to that, Kishore K Swamy, another vocal critic of the DMK, was slapped with Goondas Act and incarcerated for six months.
Very recently, the Tamil Nadu Police had filed FIRs against the editors of Tamil magazine Vikatan, Maridhas and political commentator ‘Savukku’ Shankar for speaking about G Square a real-estate firm with alleged ties to the DMK family.
Source: The Commune