Political Cartoonist charged with #sedition ready to surrender


Sagnik Chowdhury, Posted: Sep 06, 2012 at 0325 hrs IST

Charged with sedition and insulting national emblems in his cartoons, Aseem Trivedi — a political cartoonist based in Kanpur — claims he will travel to Mumbai and surrender to the police in a couple of days. The Mumbai Police’s cyber wing had blocked Trivedi’s website, http://www.cartoonsagainstcorruption.com, last December, sparking a debate on freedom of expression in India.Cyber Crime police officers in Mumbai, however, said they “did not recall” such a case, as objectionable sites are blocked routinely by them.

Trivedi, 25, is a freelance cartoonist and 2012 recipient of the ‘Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award’ of Virginia-based Cartoonists Rights Network International. He shares the award with Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat who is on Time magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. Controversial cartoons parodying national symbols and emblems were displayed by Trivedi during the anti-corruption protests led by Anna Hazare at the MMRDA grounds in BKC in December 2011, leading to private complaints being filed against him.

In January, a case of sedition was filed against him at the Beed district court. In another case before the Bombay High Court, Trivedi has been charged with insulting India’s national symbols under the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act 2005, which attracts a two-year prison sentence and a fine up to Rs 5,000.

According to Trivedi, a Mumbai Police team visited his residence in Kanpur on August 30. “I was not at home, but my parents were taken to the local police station. By the time I reached the police station, the police team had left. It was only after I made calls to the Mumbai Police that I was told about a complaint filed by advocate Rajendra Pratap Yadav. The police did not send me any notice earlier,” Tiwari told Newsline.

One of Trivedi’s cartoons depicts the Parliament building as a toilet, while another shows the Asoka pillar, which has bloodthirsty wolves instead of the four lions and the words Bhrashtamev Jayate in place of Satyameva Jayate. Yet another, titled ‘Gang Rape of Mother India’ features ‘Mother India’ wearing a tri-colour sari, about to be raped by a character labeled ‘Corruption’.

“I am in New Delhi for some work at present. I intend to arrive in Mumbai in the next two days and surrender before the police. I will not seek anticipatory bail. If I am held guilty of sedition in my own country on account of my cartoons, then it’s better not to fight any case at all. We saw what happened at the Jaipur literary festival with regard to Salman Rushdie. In Kolkata, a professor was arrested for merely e-mailing a cartoon that poked fun at the CM. These incidents pose a serious threat to artists,” Trivedi said.

After his website was blocked by the Mumbai Police, Trivedi started ‘Save Your Voice’, a campaign for internet freedom. “On December 27, 2011, I came to know from the domain name registrar that my site had been blocked by the Mumbai Police Crime Branch. Later, I learnt that cases had been filed against me in the Beed district court and the HC. I have not received any notice,” said Trivedi.

A senior Crime Branch officer said, “I can’t recall the details of this case. We receive several complaints and routinely block websites.”

Nand Kishore More, senior inspector, Cyber police station, said, “I am not aware of the case.”

12 comments on “Political Cartoonist charged with #sedition ready to surrender

  1. Pingback: Political Cartoonist charged with #sedition ready to surrender « People's Union for Civil Liberties

  2. Pingback: Award Winning Political Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi held for ‘obscene’ matter on net #sediton #FOE « kracktivist

  3. Pingback: Award Winning cartoonist Aseem Trivedi keeps his promise, held « kracktivist

  4. Pingback: Arrest of Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi for #sedition #FOS #FOE #Censorship « kracktivist

  5. Pingback: Mumbai: Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi sent to police custody till September 16 #FOE #Sedition « kracktivist

  6. Pingback: Political cartoonist arrested on sedition charges gets a week in police custody « kracktivist

  7. Pingback: Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi held on sedition charge for ‘mocking the constitution’ « kracktivist

  8. Pingback: Republican Party of India, Amit Katarnayea, had filed a complaint against Trivedi #FOE #Sedition « kracktivist

  9. Pingback: Justice Katju Arresting cartoonist for #sedition is illegal #FOE #FOS #Aseem « kracktivist

  10. Pingback: Black armbands and cartoon stickers to protest Aseem’s arrest #sedition #FOE #saveyourvoice « kracktivist

  11. Pingback: Political Cartoonist doesn’t feel need to defend self #FOE #FOS #sedition « kracktivist

  12. The countries with “paper money” as you say don’t only have paper money. They certainly stand to lose, but not as much as you imply. The Chinese have built an incredible amount of infrastructure in a short period, including technology, education, industry, military, etc. if the US defaults on its loans, the Chinese don’t lose that, and they certainly don’t lose the 1.5 billion people that contribute to the largest army (in manpower) on the planet. Their army might not have the tanks and bombs that the US does, but they have the capacity (in every regard: material, expertise, industry, etc.) to build it in short order, and they have about 5 times the number of people available given a conflict.

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