Sedition Law is against spririt of Democracy- Binayak Sen


Kractivism in Actionp- Free Binayak Sen Campaign

Kractivism in Actionp- Free Binayak Sen Campaign

Binayak Sen

I was convicted of sedition (section 124 of the IPC) on December 24 (Christmas eve), 2009, and awarded life imprisonment by the additional sessions judge, Raipur. I had already spent two years in jail as an undertrial before the Supreme Court granted me bail. Following my conviction, another four months was spent in a solitary cell before the Supreme Court suspended the sentence and granted bail, remarking in the process that there did not seem to be any evidence against me.

A hearing of my appeal in the Chhattisgarh High Court is now awaited. Afew days ago, human rights organizations gathered in Delhi to welcome back from jail Seema Azaad, the general secretary of the UP PUCL. She had also been convicted of sedition and awarded life sentence on the basis of some innocuous documents found in her possession , and then was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court after having spent two-and-a-half years in jail. I was reminded of all these events when i joined the Mumbai Press Club to greet the young cartoonist, Aseem Trivedi, following his release from jail on September 12. He had spent four days in jail after being charged with sedition , allegedly because of the content of some of his cartoons .

These charges were deemed to be so patently absurd that Aseem’s incarceration aroused a storm of protest, resulting in his prompt release. Sedition is said to have occurred when any attempt is made to bring the government of the day into disaffection . Mohandas Gandhi was convicted of sedition by the British Imperial government in 1922. Arguing his own case, Gandhi told the judge that he had no affection for the British government and, moreover, he felt it was his duty to inform his fellow citizens as to why he had no affection for it.

While convicting Gandhi, the British judge felt it necessary to apologize to Gandhi for his act, to which he was bound by his duty as a judge. Such stories are part of the folklore of sedition, and create the impression that sedition is about well-known or relatively resourceful people standing up to a bumbling state power. Nothing could be further from the truth. The most important lesson i learnt in jail was that there are vast numbers of people accused of sedition and incarcerated for this reason. To take just one example, several hundred very ordinary men and women participating in the peaceful anti-nuclear agitation in Kudankulam have been charged with sedition. The state today stands guarantor, under the doctrine of eminent domain, to a country-wide process of expropriation of common property resources — land, water, forest, minerals and traditional knowledge such as knowledge of biodiversity.

Communities, whose survival is dependent on their access to common property resources, find their survival threatened by this process of expropriation. Resisting this process becomes key to the survival of these communities , and the law of sedition is one of the important resources deployed by the state in order to suppress this entirely legitimate resistance. Communities cannot be expected to acquiesce in their own extinction, but the state seems perfectly prepared to deploy its resources, both juridical and military, in order to ensure that its writ should run. The application of sedition is also contrary to the spirit of a democratic polity. After all, the process of building up political alternatives has to be based on holding — and advocating — views that are contrary to those held by the current holders of power. Sedition serves the power holder very well, because any heterodox opinion can promptly be limited by being safely put away. Human rights workers and their organizations across the country have come together to press for repeal of the sedition law and other similar laws. They are jointly engaged in a signature campaign, and a series of public meetings, to petition Parliament for the prompt repeal of these archaic and antidemocratic legal formulations, which constitute a real danger to the development of a genuinely democratic polity. The writer is an academician, pediatrician and a human rights activist

Black armbands and cartoon stickers to protest Aseem’s arrest #sedition #FOE #saveyourvoice


 


Pockets of disgruntled citizens plan series of demonstrations after the cartoonist, who has been charged with sedition, was sent to police custody till September 16
Yogesh Sadhwani and Pooja Naik mirrorfeedback@indiatimes.com
The arrest of 25-year-old cartoonist Aseem Trivedi on charges of sedition is likely to spark a wave of protests, with organisers hoping the outpouring of anger will be similar to the large-scale demonstrations seen when Anna Hazare first launched his campaign for the Jan Lokpal bill 18 months ago.
Mumbai-based Trivedi was arrested by the BKC Police Station on Saturday evening following complaints about a series of anti-corruption cartoons that he had displayed at Anna Hazare’s rally a the MMRDA grounds in December. These cartoons were judged to have, among other things, insulted the constitution and several complaints were registered with the BKC cops.
On Sunday, a day after his arrest, the Bandra court remanded him to police custody till September 16. He refused to hire a lawyer and, according to eye-witnesses, did not defend himself.
As news of his arrest spread, the city’s blow-hot-blow-cold response to the battle against corruption seemed to get second wind, fuelled as it was by a restriction on a cartoonist’s freedom of expression.
Several groups of people Mumbai Mirror spoke to, including but not restricted to India Against Corruption which backed Hazare’s campaign, had hit the drawing board to plan a series of protests against Trivedi’s arrest.
IAC volunteers have already sent the offending cartoons to be printed as stickers and plan to have these distributed on Tuesday. On Monday, they will distribute black armbands to citizens across the city asking them to join the protest.
“The government is doing everything possible to muffle voices raised against them — from reducing number of SMSes, to blocking twitter accounts and now arresting Trivedi,” IAC’s Mayank Gandhi said.
Joining in the black band protest will be the Oshiwara Lokhandwala Citizens Association and the Gulmohar Residents Association in Juhu, both of which Ashoke Pandit is associated with. “The government has sent out a clear signal with his arrest that if you do or say anything anything against us, you will be gagged. It is a shame,” Pandit said.
Shyama Kulkarni of AGNI too announced that they would take part in the protest. “In India, freedom of expression is provided in our constitution. A cartoonist has some more liberty on that front,” she said.
One of Trivedi’s controversial cartoons shows a dog, resembling Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Qasab, peeing on the Indian constitution. Another one has the national emblem, but with wolves’ heads instead of lions. A third shows the Indian parliament shaped like a toilet, and another is a depiction of Mother India being molested by politicians.
Trivedi has been charged with sedition under Section 124 A of the Indian Penal Code, a non-bailable offence, and also under the IT Act and the 1971 National Emblem Act.
Senior Advocate Amit Desai said he didn’t think the case merited application of charges of sedition.
“While being a cartoonist gives him some license to make a comment, the cartoon for which he has been apparently arrested certainly seems to be offensive. Yet, I don’t think this case merits application of sedition charges and it could have been dealt with other sections in the IPC, apart from the IT Act. Sedition is a very serious charge, something which is not levied on a daily basis,” he said.
Alok Tripathi, a friend and fellow activist, told Mumbai Mirror that the cops had not only blocked Trivedi’s website a few months ago, but also visited his ancestral home in Kanpur and took his father to the local police station for questioning.
“After his website was blocked, Aseem has been fighting for his right of freedom of speech on the net through the Save your Voice campaign which is against censorship of freedom on the internet,” Tripathi said.
“On August 30, a Mumbai police team reached at Aseem’s Kanpur home and took his father for questioning, and told him a non-bailable warrant had been issued for his son. As soon as Aseem heard about this, he decided to head back to Mumbai and head to the police station,” he added.
“In court, Aseem did not say a word to defend himself. It’s probably his way of protesting against the system,” one of the India Against Corruption (IAC) volunteers who was present during the hearing said.
ABOUT ASEEM TRIVEDI
Born and raised in Kanpur, Aseem Trivedi turned to political cartooning after completing a BA from Kanpur University. He joined Anna Hazare’s movement in 2011. He shared the Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI)’s Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award (2012) with Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, who is on the Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people.
SHOWS GOVT’S INSECURITIES
We have always stood for fights for freedom of expression. Anyone saying anything against corruption is being tagged as a anti-national here. It is unfair.
PREETI SHARMA MENON IAC volunteer
His cartoons seem to be more like an expression of anger. However, arresting a cartoonist under charges of sedition for his work shows the high-handedness of the government and its insecurities.
HEMANT MORPARIA cartoonist
Mocking some ministers by creating funny cartoons does not amount to sedition. It is too serious an allegation. If he has disrespected the national flag, there is a seperate law he can be tried under.
PRADEEP PASBOLA senior counsel
Aseem Trivedi outside Bandra court on Sunday

 

In support of Aseem Trivedi, now being tried in India for sedition for drawing cartoons


 

On September 9, 2012, in IndiaLiberty, by Sanjeev Sabhlok
I had never heard of Aseem Trivedi before, but I am shocked to read today that he has beenarrested and will be tried for SEDITION! – for what? For cartoons that depict his anger at the massive corruption by the Indian government. [Also see this news of his arrest.]

Apparently, in India, it is criminal to depict the state for what it is: a monster that is sucking up the blood of the people of India.

I myself had depicted this in 1975:

In my view (depicted in this picture) Indira Gandhi had disemboweled the poor even as she pretended to care for them. I was 15 years old when I made this. Seditionist? No. I had a strong sense of integrity even then, and strongly cared for India. To care for your nation is NOT sedition.

Apparently Trivedi has shown disrespect to national symbols. But what about those who LOOT the country? Are they showing respect merely because they are escorted by Z level security?

What is more important: symbols or reality?

In my view the government of India is showing the GREATEST disrespect to national symbols. Trivedi has got it right. The socialists have racked India and made tens of private mansions for each of themselves in the name of the poor. They have destroyed truth. They have destroyed liberty.

Trivedi’s website has already been shut down by the Indian government. Unfortunately, for the Indian government (and governments worldwide) the Pandora’s box of liberty – the internet – has been opened and no one can shut it down. Liberty will triumph.

In support of Aseem Trivedi, I’m re-publishing all his cartoons that I can find on the internet. If I’ve missed any please send them over.

I hope people like Shailesh will try to understand this – that democracy is NOT God. It is NOT a sufficient condition for the defence of liberty. It is a step towards that journey but that journey requires strong leaders to join politics and cut the ever-extending reach of the government. Only vigorous defence of liberty can save India’s democracy from degenerating into tyranny. Not PR. Let’s get the priorities right. We need leaders RIGHT NOW, to defeat the current government (and opposition!), and establish a new order based on liberty. Instead of idle debates, it is time for action.

DISCLAIMER: BY POSTING ASEEM’S CARTOONS I DO NOT MEAN TO EXPRESS ANY ENDORSEMENT OF HIS STYLE (WHICH IS VERY AGGRESSIVE). BUT I BELIEVE THIS WORK IS NOT SEDITIOUS. IT IS WELL WITHIN THE FREE RIGHT OF ANY POLITICAL CARTOONIST ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD TO PRESENT THE POLITICAL SITUATION AS HE SEES IT. THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA MUST GET USED TO THE IDEA THAT PEOPLE ARE ENTITLED TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES EVEN IN OFFENSIVE WAYS.

Sanjeev Sabhlok

===THE CARTOONS==

 

Republican Party of India, Amit Katarnayea, had filed a complaint against Trivedi #FOE #Sedition


 

Cartoonist Trivedi remanded to police custody

PTI

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Kanpur-based cartoonist Aseem Trivedi arrested on charges of posting seditious contents on his website being produced at court in Mumbai on Sunday.
PTIKanpur-based cartoonist Aseem Trivedi arrested on charges of posting seditious contents on his website being produced at court in Mumbai on Sunday.

Kanpur based cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, arrested for allegedly posting seditious content on his website, was today remanded to police custody till September 16 by a local court.

Trivedi, who was arrested on Saturday on the basis of a complaint filed in December, was produced before a court in Bandra which remanded him to police custody till September 16.

Police had sought his custody to question him on the contents on his website and other charges. The court had issued a non-bailable warrant against him last month.

A member of Republican Party of India, Amit Katarnayea, had filed a complaint against Trivedi that the latter had put up banners mocking the Indian constitution during the Anna Hazare rally held last year at the Bandra Kurla Complex. It was also alleged that he had put the obscene content on his website.

Outside the court, a defiant Trivedi said, “If telling the truth makes me traitor then I am one. Even Mahatma Gandi was called traitor and if I am booked under sedition for doing service to the nation then I will continue to do so.”

While police officers said that he had shown disrespect to the National flag and he was arrested under 124A of the Indian Penal Code for sedition besides various sections of the Information Technology Act.

Trivedi was due to fly to Syria on Wednesday to receive a cartooning award.

“If anyone is talking against corruption, proclaiming it as anti-national and slamming charges of sedition, one needs to understand that this is against the government and not against the country,” said Mayank Gandhi, a member of IAC.

He said further said that Trivedi was not a member of the IAC “but is fighting corruption and we are here to give him moral support”.

 

Arrest of Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi for #sedition #FOS #FOE #Censorship


September 9, 2012 | , Vidyut,

Sarcasm should have a special font, many of my followers on Twitter have groaned. I can have a caustic wit at times, which sometimes simply states the view I wish to lampoon as a reality and lets the revulsion the reader feels speak for itself. An example would be “What is our target for rapes this year? We seem to be lagging behind. Only five today.”

The arrest of Aseem Trivedi convinces me that I am going to be arrested one day simply because some dimwit took my words at face value and interpreted them to mean a promotion of rape. Regardless of the flood of writing fighting for human rights over years.

Aseem Trivedi had a warrant out in his name. Sedition. Emblems Act. IT Act. Would not be out of place to call this a three Act drama. Is that a euphemism for three ring circus? Oh wait, does this constitute insulting the Penal code or something? I was actually insulting people using laws to punish personal distaste. But I named laws, right? Was I insulting the Indian Penal Code? Was I insulting the Judiciary? Logically, I wasn’t, but logic is in short supply these days.

P L Deshpande, in his hilarious, but heartfelt congratulatory speech during the 175th show of Sangeet Vastraharan – a highly “offensive” and devastatingly funny play spoke of criticism he faced when he endorsed the play. A rough translation would be:

When I said this play is very good, very funny, I liked it a lot, and I laughed so much that my shoulders, stomach, whatever is capable of hurting had all hurt… when I said this, at that time, many felt – I even got one or two letters – [surprised] that “*you* should call this play good surprises us”, etc. [pause] God creates people devoid of a sense of humor. If he hadn’t done that, in this country dictators wouldn’t be created. That happens only because of a lack of sense of humor. They don’t laugh, and they can’t bear to see others laugh. This is a dictatorship. These people become dictators.

Then, in such a situation, whoever turned up their noses instead of laughing uproariously, about this play, I can only tell these performers this [about them]: God gave them a nose only to turn up, not for relishing [humor].

We are increasingly losing the language of metaphors. Be it sarcasm or caricatures or plain old humor. There will always be someone outraged over your audacity to be irreverent, because it is a stick-up-ass world today, with pompous egos so fragile, they cannot sustain disagreement.

Aseem Trivedi, award winning political cartoonist is finding that out the hard way. Not all that different from JayHind finding it out a while back.

In a landmark judgment by a five judge Supreme Court bench led by then Chief Justice of India B P Sinha in the Kedar Nath Singh vs State of Bihar case (1962), the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the sedition provision contained in Section 124A of the IPC subject to the condition that the sedition charge can be made only against those who misuse their freedom of speech to instigate an armed rebellion against the state. The entire India Against Corruption protests totalled come nowhere remotely near any kind of armed rebellion against the state. This didn’t stop police from registering a case against him for sedition. Makes one either very worried for the state of knowledge on laws among the police, or Aseem Trivedi, depending on whose innocence you believe

Read more here arrest-of-cartoonist-aseem-trivedi-for-sedition

Award Winning cartoonist Aseem Trivedi keeps his promise, held


 

Express news service : Mumbai, Sun Sep 09 2012,

Aseem Trivedi is facing sedition charges in a Beed court, to be produced in a Bandra court today.

Political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi on Saturday surrendered to police at the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) police station, where complaints had been filed against him for insulting the national emblem and other national symbols in his anti-corruption cartoons. The Kanpur-based cartoonist was arrested and will be produced in a Bandra Holiday court on Sunday 10am. The cartoonist, against whom several cases have been filed in the state and who is facing sedition charges, had on Thursday said he would surrender.

Caricatures made by Trivedi had been displayed during the anti-corruption protests led by Anna Hazare at the MMRDA grounds in BKC last December. Private complaints had been filed at the police station against Trivedi, 25, a freelance cartoonist and this year’s recipient of ‘Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award’ of Cartoonists Rights Network International, based in Virginia.

Trivedi had shared the award with Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat who is on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people.

Among the controversial cartoons for which complaints were filed against him are one of the national emblem in which the four lions are shown as wolves, blood oozing from their mouth and the word ‘Satyameva’ replaced with ‘Bhrashtameva’ in the inscription ‘Satyameva Jayate’ below the emblem. In another depiction he has depicted the Parliament House as a toilet. In yet another cartoon, ‘Mother India’ is depicted as a woman who is about to be raped.

A case has also been filed in the Bombay High Court against him under the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act 2005, which may attract a two-year prison term and a fine up to Rs 5,000.

Mumbai Police’s cyber wing that had blocked Trivedi’s website, http://www.cartoonsagainstcorruption.com last December, sparking a row on freedom of expression, had on Thursday said they did not recall the specific case, as they routinely block objectionable sites.

PLEASE SIGN ON-LINE PETITION FOR HIS RELEASE

 

 

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.”