Evict Aseem Trivedi from ‘Bigg Boss’, says Republican Party of India (RPI)

On Thursday morning to the Bigg Boss home Angry Dalits from different parts of the state marched demanding eviction of one of its inmates, cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, a Republican Party of India (RPI) member said. “About 5,000 marchers, led by RPI chief Ramdas Athavale, have gathered here from Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Nashik and other parts.” party spokesperson Mayur Borkar also said. “Last week, Athavale had raised objections to Colors TV channel including Trivedi in its reality show, Bigg Boss, as he had committed insults to various symbols of India and denigrated the constitution.

He had given one week’s time to the TV channel to evict him or face action.”

Since the channel failed to remove him, the RPI led a march Thursday to seek his eviction from the Bigg Boss house, being shot in a bungalow in the hill town of Lonavala, about 100 km from Mumbai.

Bigg Boss is a reality show where contestants are locked inside the house for 98 days, away from the comforts of their everyday lives, and without any communication with the outside world. They have 70 cameras prying on their activities 24×7.

Borkar told that Trivedi had been unknown till he targeted various Indian symbols like the tricolour, the Ashok Chakra, parliament and the constitution.

“While the Maharashtra government may have let him off, he is still unanswerable to us as he has denigrated the constitution of India, penned by the great Dalit leader, Babasaheb Ambedkar”

Two months ago, Trivedi hogged the limelight after the Maharashtra government slapped sedition charges on him for sketching obscene cartoons denigrating Indian constitution and other symbols, during last year’s Anna Hazare-led anti-corruption crusade in Mumbai. Trivedi was thrown in jail but after a public outcry, was released. The sedition charges against him were quietly dropped.

HC slams Mumbai Police for arresting cartoonist for sedition

The Bombay High Court today slammed Mumbai Police for arresting cartoonist Aseem Trivedi on “frivolous” grounds and “without application of mind”, saying its action breached his freedom of speech and expression.

“How can you (police) arrest people on frivolous grounds? You arrest a cartoonist and breach his liberty of freedom of speech and expression,” a division bench of justices D Y Chandrachud and Amjad Sayyed said while hearing a PIL filed by lawyer Sanskar Marathe claiming Trivedi’s arrest was illegal and unjustified.

The Kanpur-based cartoonist, arrested last Saturday on sedition charges, was released two days back after the high court granted him bail amid mounting public outrage.

Observing that Trivedi’s arrest was prima facie “arbitrary”, the court said, “We have one Aseem Trivedi who was courageous enough to raise his voice and stand against this, but what about several others whose voices are shut by police.”

Noting that the police would have to satisfy the court as to how the sedition charge was applied against the young cartoonist, the judges said they intended to lay down certain parameters for application of the law of sedition.

“If there are no parameters there will be serious encroachment of a person’s liberties guaranteed to him in a civil society,” the bench said.

It said the sedition law was a pre-independence provision when government wanted protection from the citizens.

“What is the government’s stand now? Does it intend to drop the charge? someone has to take political responsibility for this. Why did the police not apply its mind before arresting him on sedition charges,” the court wanted to know.

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”.