Paramilitary link, screening competition behind arson in Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 22 June 2010, 04:49 GMT]
Batticaloa Criminal Investigation Department (CID) police arrested Sunday the owner of Chengkaladi Sellam cinema theatre on suspicion of involvement in setting fire to the screen and stage of Shanthi theatre in Kaaththaankudi police division 17 June night, sources in Batticaloa said. The persons who had set fire had left handbills that warned no theatres in the North and East should screen any South Indian Film for a week. The arrested theatre owner, Kanapathipillai Mohan, a contestant in the last parliamentary election on behalf of the paramilitary-cum-political party led by Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, Chief Minister of Eastern Provincial Council, is said to have frequent conflicts with the owner of Shanthi theatre arising out of the competition in screening South Indian films, the sources added.

The arrest was triggered by the identification of the van used in the arson and the arrest of its driver.

Batticaloa police produced Mohan Monday in Batticaloa District Court which ordered him to be placed in remand prison until 29 June.

The anonymous handbill left behind by the paramilitary personnel had warned theatres that screen South Indian Films from 18 June to 30 June. It said the ‘measure’ was a protest against South Indian film industry that boycotted the Indian showbiz event early this month.

In Batticaloa district, only Sellam Theatre in Chengkaladi and Shanthi Theatre in Kalladi are screening South Indian films.

The other theatres in Batticaloa district Subaraj, Vijaya and Rajeswari have stopped operating.

 

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