Islamabad, Sept 11 News Desk ( http://www.pakdestiny.com ) Indian cartoonist Aseem Trivedi was sent to jail as his case created a nationwide furore and led to widespread criticism of the government’s intolerance but in Pakistan no voice in his support was raised despite the fact he drew a cartoon against corruption.
Neither any media person nor any rights activist has come forward that otherwise clamoring against corruption on local Pak channels.
As rights activists criticized the arrest for an alleged derogatory cartoon and the Press Council of India (PCI) head Justice Markandey Katju slammed the “stupid” move, the central government however maintained that targeting of national symbols by cartoonists would not be allowed.
Facing sedition charges under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, along with other offenses under the Information Technology Act, Trivedi was arrested in Mumbai late Saturday and sent to seven days police custody by a magistrate Sunday.
After questioning him for a day, police decided not to grill the cartoonist any further. He was produced again before a court which sent him to judicial custody till Sep 24.
Trivedi, an activist of India Against Corruption (IAC), has refused to apply bail in the case until the sedition charges – which attract a maximum life imprisonment – are withdrawn.
A resident of Shuklaganj near Kanpur, he has been spearheading a ‘Cartoons Against Corruption’ campaign on social media networks.
The 25 year-old 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 in Mumbai last December.
The case saw the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which holds the home minister’s post in the Maharashtra government, tie itself in confusion.
While home minister RR Patil claimed that his department was not involved in the case and assured that the government would arrange for Trivedi’s speedy release, the party defended the police action and even demanded that the cartoonist should apologise before his case could be considered sympathetically.
Trivedi’s harassment “smacks of vendetta against the anti-corruption movement, and portrays sign of a paranoid state”.
Cartoonist Hemant Morparia wondered how a cartoon could be termed as “waging war against the state”. “The cartoon was more of a polemic.. waging war against the state? How can it be considered as that?” he asked.
Well known cartoonist Sudhir Dar said the arrest showed increasing intolerance. “We haven’t yet developed a healthy sense of humour, we are becoming more and more intolerant.”
The criticism over the arrest of the cartoonist comes days after a controversy over an article in the US daily Washington Post that described Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as “a tragic figure”. agencies\(http://www.pakdestiny.com )