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

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

 

Justice Katju Arresting cartoonist for #sedition is illegal #FOE #FOS #Aseem


PTI PHOTO/SANTOSH HIRLEKAR

 

 

PIT, NEW  ELHI, SEPT 10, 2012

Justice Markandey Katju, Press Council of India chairman, today defended Aseem Trivedi, who was arrestedfor allegedly posting seditious content on his web portal, saying the cartoonist has done nothing illegal.”My opinion is that the cartoonist did nothing illegal. In a democracy many things are said, some truthful and others false,” Katju said in a statement.

Trivedi was arrested yesterday and produced in a Mumbai court which sent him to police custody till September 16. He was arrested following a complaint that he had put up banners mocking the Indian Constitution during the Anna Hazare rally held last year in Mumbai.

To drive home his point, Katju recalled his own words as a judge and said he used to often say in court that people can call him a fool or crook inside the court or outside but he will never initiate contempt of court proceedings, because either the allegation is true, “in which case I deserve it, or it is false, in which case I will ignore it”.

“These are occupational hazards, and politicians, like judges, must learn to put up with them,” Katju said.

He maintained that arresting a cartoonist or any other person who has not committed a crime is itself a crime under the Indian Penal Code as it is a wrongful arrest and wrongful confinement.

“So policemen, who make such illegal arrests, cannot take the plea that they were obeying orders of political superiors,” he said.

Citing another example, he said, “During the Nuremberg trials, the Nazi war criminals took the plea that orders are orders, and that they were only obeying the orders of their political superior Hitler. But this plea was rejected by the International Tribunal which held that illegal orders should be disobeyed.”

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