10 April 1959
|Residence||Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India|
|Awards||Thanthai Periyar Award|
Nakkheeran Gopal (born 10 April 1959) is a veteran journalist from Tamil Nadu, India. He is the editor and publisher of Tamil political investigative journal Nakkheeran. He is known for his pro-christian and anti-hindu views while reporting events and use to act as a mouth piece of the Church. His magazine Nakkeeran usually uses the Tamil Identity for spreading separatist ideas in Tamil Nadu.
He completed his school education at Municipal School of Aruppukottai and SBK Higher Secondary School. After clearing pre-university course at Devanga Arts College, he graduated as Bachelor of Commerce from SBK College in 1977. Apart from academics, he was part of his college hockey team and also involved in art works that could be considered as one of the early signs of a contemporary layout artist and editor.
Post degree, Rajagopal's father wanted him to be employed in a bank. Rather being idle waiting for a bank profession, Gopal worked in a provisional store much to his father’s displeasure. In 1978, his relative promised him of a job in then Madras however that could not be fulfilled later but eyeing, which Rajagopal had moved into capital city initially.
In 1983 Rajagopal and his friend jointly started a rubber firm investing around 3000 rupees. Things were not proceeding well from the beginning. Thought exhausted they could manage with just one meal daily. At times, they might even need to cycle all around the city. He turned ill and had returned to his native. He abstained from work for four months during recovery but improved his artistic skills meantime. His friends and neighbours suggested him to seek a relevant job that would display his splendid artworks.
In 1985, Rajagopal was rightly identified by Valampuri John, the editor of THAI magazine run by the then Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran. He gained much knowledge on layout work supported by the encouraging editor. He also got exposed to production work during his venture in THIRAICHUVAI. However Rajagopal had learnt the success story when he acted as a layout director in THARASU magazine. The readers loved the wrapper layout work that sensibly portrayed the message. At this stage, he opted to move out of THARASU due to various conflicts.
Founder of Nakkheeran magazine
Rajagopal, with sum of four thousand rupees, aggressively decided to start his own political investigative weekly magazine in 1988. He loved the epic title Nakkheeran but it was possessed by a politician named Mr.Subbu. When approached, Subbu gave away the title that led to the evolution of Nakkheeran, the weekly Tamil magazine. The material suppliers offered fund for 4–10 weeks positively. The office was set up in a small room at Kilpauk on the banks of river Cooum. The first issue of Nakkheeran came out on 20 April 1988.
The editor of Nakkheeran Rajagopal (widely identified as Nakkheeran Gopal) locked horns with the state government of Tamil Nadu in Supreme Court of India to receive a landmark judgement in favour of press independence on 7 October 1994. This judgement was unanimously appreciated by global media, details below.
As an act of bravery, Nakkheeran is the first ever magazine to interview and expose a portrait of South India’s forest brigand Veerappan. The editor and his team effectively acted as an emissary between brigade and state governments to carry out a successful mission in rescuing thespian Rajkumar that calmed down the insecure atmosphere prevailed between two states since abduction in 2000. Earlier, Gopal had been successful in also rescuing eight forest guards kidnapped by Veerappan. 
Jayalalitha led Tamil Nadu government is known for its defamation case against Nakkheeran. During 2003, Nakkeeran Gopal was the 42nd person in the state to be detained under the controversial POTA act. POTA act was used by then chief minister of Jayalalitha to detain persons whom she considered as rivals by her own terms. According to the police, at the time of arrest Mr. Gopal was in possession of an unlicensed revolver with ammunition and a pamphlet in support of the banned Tamil Nadu Liberation Army, and hence he was charged under the Arms Act and for an offence under Section 124-A IPC (sedition). Meanwhile, the Madras High Court admitted a petition from Gopal's father, S. Ramanathan, seeking adequate police protection for his son and also for a direction to ensure his freedom of expression during detention. Though Justice K.P. Sivasubramaniam described the prayer to ensure Gopal's freedom of expression in custody as `perplexing', the judge directed the police to provide him adequate security. "The apprehension of the petitioner is that his son is likely to be taken away for investigation to Sathyamangalam and that he apprehends danger to his son's life.
"The Advocate-General, N.R. Chandran, gave the assurance that the State is equally anxious about Mr. Gopal's life and that it would provide adequate security to him. The statement of the AG is placed on record and the respondent-police directed to provide adequate security to Mr. Gopal", Mr. Justice Sivasubramaniam said.
Journalists' protest against police
In another development, the Madras Union of Journalists, the Chennai Press Club and the Journalists Action Group, in a joint memorandum to the Governor, said the Tamil Nadu Government had, by invoking POTA in the case, grossly misused the law intended only to tackle terrorism. An unlicensed gun, ammunition and a TNLA pamphlet were shown to have been seized by the police from Mr. Gopal, whereas nothing like that actually happened. The police `discovery' appeared aimed at facilitating the slapping of the POTA on him.The organisations requested the Governor to revoke the POTA in the case. Denouncing the arrest, the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontiers) said the police action was the "latest twist in a long-standing effort to intimidate Gopal and his journalists for their reporting on Veerappan and his gang, whom the police had been hunting for several years."
After eight months of imprisonment, Gopal was ordered to be set free on bail by a division bench of the Madras High Court while allowing a habeas corpus petition filed by his brother.Emerging out of the prison, Gopal said his obtaining the bail was the 'first blow' to the "autocratic rule" of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa" This victory is Nakeeran's first step. Let the government file any number of false cases, we will emerge victorious," he said in brief remarks as he was given a rousing reception by magazine staff and others in front of the prison complex.The high court had faulted the police with not providing any reasons for his arrest under IPC and Pota. Gopal was first arrested in April this year in connection with the murder of a police informant, allegedly by forest brigand Veerappan, and was subsequently charged under Pota for alleged possession of arms.
Nakkeeran Gopal penned a series called "Challenge" (late 1990s) and Yutham (late 2000s) in his own Nakkheeran magazine. Later, the consolidations were released as a book. "Challenge" describes the agony putforth by Jayalalithaa between 1991 and 1996 whereas his Yutham (elaborated in four parts) briefs how his team tackled the distress caused by 2001-06 TN Govt. No doubt that reader would wonder on press independence and the extent police department can be misused by people in power. He sadly records a demise of his magazine Printer "Ayya Ganesan" and his Father in law "R.S.Pandian" who were forced to death by TN police.
- "About Us". Nakkheeran.in. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
- "R. Rajagopal v. State of T.N. - Global Freedom of Expression". Columbia.edu. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
- "India: Rajagopal and Another v. State of Tamil Nadu · Article 19". Article19.org. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
- "When Veerappan captured Dr Rajkumar". Rediff.com. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
- Correspondent, Legal (6 June 2002). ""Nakkheeran" Gopal moves SC to squash summons". The Hindu online edition, 6 June 2002. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
- A tough bargain
- A mission on hold
- One hundred days of torment
- Nambath, By Suresh (19 October 2004). "Veerappan as `Robin Hood'". p. 12. Retrieved 8 March 2017 – via The Hindu (old).
- Nakkheeran Gopal coming out of the Central jail in Chennai on December 20, 2003
- Correspondent, Special (20 September 2005). "Charge sheet submitted in Nakkeeran Gopal case". p. 04. Retrieved 8 March 2017 – via The Hindu (old).
- "Gopal released from prison". India.com. 20 December 2003. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
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