Political Cartoonist doesn’t feel need to defend self #FOE #FOS #sedition


PTI PHOTO/SANTOSH HIRLEKAR

Vijay V Singh, Rebecca Samervel & Swati Deshpande, TNN | Sep 10, 2012, 06.07AM IST

KANPUR-based cartoonist Aseem Trivedi ( 25 ) reached Mumbai on Saturday morning and went to the BKC police stationto surrender and also inquire about the case against him.Last month, a BKC police team had gone to Kanpurto look for him. Its members questioned his father for a few hours on August 30 at a local police station, causing him mental harassment, according to Trivedi’s friends. When the cartoonist learned about this, he tried to contact the team, but its members did not respond to his calls, the friends said.After Trivedi surrendered, he was put in lockup for the night. His friends and India Against Corruption members were not allowed to meet him, a friend alleged. Trivedi was produced in court on Sunday afternoon.

When the magistrate asked him about his advocate, he said he was not engaging one. The prosecutor informed the court that Trivedi had insulted the national emblem in a cartoon and displayed it during an Anna Hazare rally at the MMRDA ground and on his website. The court then gave the police Trivedi’s custody. The next hearing is on September 16.

Former judges, lawyers and civil rights activists have criticized the police for arresting the cartoonist. In particular, they have condemned the duration of his custody.

“This is a very rare instance of such a thing happening,” 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.”

Former IPS officer and now lawyer Y P Singh said that as per a Supreme Court ruling, arrests need not be made in cases of a technical nature. “The action of the police, which may not be legally incorrect, has certainly been undesirable. The police have acted in an excessive manner by applying sedition charges. At best, a weak case could have been made under the Prevention of Insults to Nation Honour Act.

“Further, to arrest a person on a weekend and produce him in court on a Sunday is regarded as mischievous . That is because if a matter is regarded as serious, it needs to be deliberated on in a regular court and not a holiday court.”

Shyama Kulkarni, trustee, Agni, said, “In a democracy, how can somebody be gagged like this? Are we heading towards a dictatorial state or towards a state of emergency? Trivedi is an artist and has a right to express himself.”

Kulkarni drew a comparison to the recent arrest of a professor in West Bengal for forwarding a cartoon on the state’s chief minister Mamata Banerjee. “Will anyone among us be arrested if we criticize those in power? Instead of charging an innocent cartoonist, arrest those who are selling our country. The right people are not being arrested.”

The cartoonist

Aseem Trivedi was born in 1987 in Kanpur Is a political cartoonist and activist Is 2012 recipient of ‘Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award’ of Virginia-based Cartoonists Rights Network International Started ‘Save Your Voice’ movement against internet censorship along with long-time friend Alok Dixit As freelance cartoonist, drew for newspapers and magazines Drew cartoons in support of Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement and put them up in own website, which was blocked by police. Cartoons were discussed in Rajya Sabha

Aseem Trivedi’s crime

Sedition by insulting national symbols through cartoons Works in question are themed Cartoons Against Corruption. One depicts national emblem as comprising wolves in place of lions and the slogan Bhrashtameva Jayate in place of Satyameva Jayate

The complainant

Amit Katarnayea, legal advisor for a Mumbai-based non-governmental organization Wrote in police complaint in December 2011 that Trivedi put up banners mocking Indian constitution during Anna Hazare’s rally at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) and uploaded obscene content on his website

Three charges, one draws life term

Section 124, Indian Penal Code |

Sedition. Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government, shall be punished with imprisonment for life

Section 66A, Information Technology Act |

Punishment for sending false or offensive messages through communication services for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will. Punishable with imprisonment for a term that may extend to three years

Section 2, Prevention of Insults to Nation Honour Act |

Whoever in any public place or in any other place within public view burns, mutilates, defaces, defiles, disfigures, destroys, tramples upon or otherwise shows disrespect to or brings into contempt (whether by words, either spoken or written, or by acts) the national flag or the constitution of India or any part thereof, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term that may extend to three years

Kanpur-based , why did he surrender in mum?

Complaint against Aseem Trivedi was filed at BKC police station In August, BKC police team went to Kanpur to look for him and questioned his father on the 30th of the month Trivedi later tried to contact team, but failed He arrived in Mumbai on Saturday and went to BKC police station to inquire about the case. There he surrendered

One comment on “Political Cartoonist doesn’t feel need to defend self #FOE #FOS #sedition

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