Press Council chief slams sedition charge against cartoonist

Press Council of India (PCI) chairman Markandey Katju Monday termed the sedition charge against cartoonist Aseem Trivedi as “stupid” and demanded action against politicians and police responsible for arresting the cartoonist.

“The charges are stupid and this is not sedition. This is misuse of the state machinery. Those politicians and policemen who have made this arrest should be arrested and put on trial,” Katju told a news channel.

“This is totally unacceptable what is being done against Aseem Trivedi,” he added.

Katju said that cartoons criticising politicians are published often in a democracy and politicians must learn to be tolerant.

“This is not a dictatorship. You can’t arrest people like this. It is a criminal offence to arrest someone who has not committed a crime under the Indian Penal Code called wrongful arrest and wrongful confinement under section 342 IPC,” said Katju.

A Mumbai court Sunday remanded Trivedi, an Anna Hazare supporter and political cartoonist, to seven days police custody for drawing an allegedly derogatory sketch and uploading it on his web portal.

25-year-old Trivedi is an activist of India Against Corruption (IAC) and was picked up Saturday evening by Mumbai police following a non-bailable arrest warrant issued against him.

He is accused of uploading “ugly and obscene” matter on his web portal and for putting up objectionable banners insulting the Indian constitution during Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption agitation here last December.

IAC too Monday demanded that Trivedi be “unconditionally released” and “the baseless charge of sedition be withdrawn instantly”.

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