News Update :

Anti-corruption cartoonist arrested for sedition in Mumbai

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

INDIA: Kanpur-based cartoonist Aseem Trivedi (25), who surrendered to the BKC police on Saturday, was remanded in seven days’ police custody by the Bandra holiday court on Sunday. Charged with sedition for insulting national symbols through his cartoons, he refused to engage a lawyer in protest. The cartoons in question are on the theme Cartoons Against Corruption and one of them depicts the national emblem as comprising wolves in place of lions and the slogan Bhrashtameva Jayate in place of Satyameva Jayate.

The complaint against Trivedi was filed by a Mumbai-based lawyer at the Bandra Kurla Complex police station last December under the Indian Penal Code's section 124 (sedition), the Information Technology Act's section 66-A (sending offensive messages through communication services) and the Prevention of Insults to Nation Honour (PINH) Act's section 2 (imprisonment for disrespect to the national flag or the constitution or any part thereof).

Trivedi's friends said the police action was politically motivated.

“Aseem told us the government targeted him because he supported Anna Hazare in his fight against corruption,” said a friend.

The police were treating Aseem like a criminal, said a friend, activist Alok Dixit. “He decided not to engage an advocate and wants to let the court decide. He maintains he is not wrong. That is why he does not see a need to defend himself.” The Time of

Former judges, lawyers and civil rights activists criticized the police for the development, in particular the custodial duration. “This is a very rare instance where such a thing has happened,” said activist and advocate Mihir Desai. Observing that the case was not maintainable, high court Justice (retd) H Suresh said, “The charge of sedition is patently misused. In this case, what is sedition? Moreover, custody of seven days is fundamentally wrong (in this case).

What further investigations will be conducted while keeping him in custody? The cartoons, which speak for themselves, are investigation enough.” The Times of India
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