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Outrage over Aseem's arrest, Katju protests

Sep 10, 2012 07:40 AM IST India India

New Delhi: The arrest of cartoonist and India Against Corruption activist Aseem Trivedi on charges of sedition has sparked outrage. Aseem has been sent to police custody for a week for allegedly posting 'ugly and obscene' content on his web portal.

Aseem's family and other anti-corruption activists are standing by him claiming there was nothing unpatriotic about his cartoons."Why should the government arrest our son, a cartoonist when there are so many corrupt leaders roaming around freely? His cartoon was only helping draw attention to corruption," said Aseem's father Ashok Trivedi.

"Our son has done nothing wrong. I am proud of my son. Corrupt leaders must be behind bars, not my son. His act cannot be called unpatriotic," his mother Pratibha Trivedi said.

Cartoonist Mangesh Tendulkar said, "When there's such a kind of curb on any cartoon, the authority should think twice, because even though it is a little aggresive, this is the most essential thing in democracy."

Press Council of India chairman Justice Markandey Katju has defended Aseem Trivedi saying arresting a person who has not committed a crime is a crime in itself. He said, "In my opinion the cartoonist did nothing illegal. In a democracy many things are said, some truthful and others false. These are occupational hazards, and politicians, like judges, must learn to put up with them."

Kanpur based cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, arrested for allegedly posting seditious content on his website, was on Sunday 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 Repubican 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".

(With additional information from PTI)