At least 57 people, including Tamil folk singer Kovan, were on Thursday arrested in Chennai during a protest march to demand Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) leader Kanhaiya Kumar's release. The Tamil Nadu Police arrested them within 15 minutes of starting the rally.
The march was also against the attack on Kumar at the Patiala House Court in Delhi where he was produced by the police on Wednesday seeking his remand. They also demanded that the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student's wing of the BJP, be removed from all educational institutions, the Hindu reported.
The ABVP held protests in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Kolkata against Kumar and JNU students, who they claimed were "anti-national" elements.
"We are against curbing of freedom of speech and expression and we are against BJP' move to saffronise educational institutions... "â€ªWe want all charges against Kanhaiya to be dropped," the News Minute quoted Kovan as saying earlier on Thursday.
Kovan's Makkal Kalai Ilakkiya Kazhagam (People's Art and Literary Association), Revolutionary Students' Youth Front (RSYS) and five student organisations participated in the protest march. The protest was organised in front of Shastri Bhavan, in Nungambakkam.
Kovan was arrested in October 2015 on sedition charges for writing a song against the J Jayalalithaa-led Tamil Nadu government and its liquor policy.