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22 May 1944 (age 70)
Kalingapatty, Sankarankovil, India
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V Gopalsamy also known as Vaiko is an Indian politician. He is the founder and General Secretary of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), a political party active mainly in the state of Tamil Nadu. He is known for his vocal support of Tamil people in Sri Lanka and LTTE.
Early life and education
V Gopalasamy was born in Kalingapatty near Sankarankovil, Madras Presidency (now Tamil Nadu). He graduated with a Bachelor of arts degree in economics from St. Xavier's College, Palayamkottai and masters from Presidency College, Chennai. He obtained his bachelor degree in law from Madras Law College.
Vaiko was a part of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and was formerly seen as the ideological protege of former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M. Karunanidhi. Vaiko was detained for more than an year in 1976-77 during emergency and for 40 days on charges of organizing black flag demonstration against former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s visit to Tamil Nadu in Oct 1977. He has been arrested multiple times for peaceful demonstrations especially during the 1986-87 anti Hindi agitations.
He entered the Rajya Sabha in 1978 and has been member of the Upper House for three terms. He has also been elected to the Lok Sabha twice. In 1993, Vaiko started MDMK due to differences with Karunanidhi amid rumblings that Karunanidhi promoted his son M. K. Stalin to succeed him.
Vaiko was known as Tiger Of Parliament due to his vociferous speeches in Parliament. Vaiko protested against Kerala's demand for a new dam at Mullaperiyar and proposed building of dams in Pambar and Siruvani. Vaiko also supported national interlinking of rivers and Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project. Vaiko filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in Madras High Court requesting closure of the copper smelting plant of Sterlite Industries in Tuticorin which did not follow the waste management procedures correctly and leading to the closure of the plant.
Vaiko often goes on foot marches along with his party cadres to attract attention to issues.
Support of LTTE
Vaiko unequivocally supported LTTE and other organizations fighting for a separate Tamil state in Sri Lanka. He made a trip to Eelam at the height of the LTTE’s war with Sri Lankan Army. Vaiko was the first member of Parliament and chief of a registered political party in the country to be detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002. He was released after spending 18 months in prison.
In 2008, Criminal Investigation Department of Tamil Nadu police arrested Vaiko on charges of sedition. The charges stemmed from speeches Vaiko made at a party meeting on the Sri Lankan issue and the government's raids into LTTE-held areas on 21 October 2008. After 14 days in judicial custody, Vaiko was released.
In 2005, Vaiko started the Marumalarchi Blood Donors' Club. Vaiko has launched many engagement programmes in rural areas with the participation of villagers. Vaiko has undergone a month long padayatra in Tamil Nadu for the interlinking of inter state rivers in India.
He married Renuka Devi on 14 June 1971. They have a son Vaiyapuri and two daughters Rajalakshmi and Kannagi. Vaiko enjoys writing in his free time and has authored over 50 books apart from regular essays and columns in newspapers.
- Interview with Vaiko
- http://www.uyirmmai.com/Uyirosai/ContentDetails.aspx?cid=1206 (in Tamil)
- HC orders closure of Sterlite Ind’s Tuticorin plant
- Vaiko's nadaiyanamans
- 'Indians must celebrate if Jaffna falls'
- Vaiko arrested from Chennai airport[dead link]
- Vaiko released from prison
- Kumar, S. Vijay (24 October 2008). "Vaiko arrested on charges of sedition". The Hindu. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- http://www.ptinews.com/pti%5Cptisite.nsf/0/964B5450510EE02D652574F90048007E?OpenDocument[dead link]
- No justification for extending ban on LTTE, says Vaiko The Hindu - September 27, 2010
- Lift ban on LTTE, demand MDMK lawyers
- "Marumalarchi blood donors save boy's life". The Hindu. 23 February 2006. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- More about Tank Desilting Program
- Padayatra boosted MDMK's image: Vaiko
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