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Aseem Trivedi


Aseem Trivedi is a Cartoonist and an activist against corruption in India.

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Arrest on charges of sedition

On 8 September 2012, he was arrested by the Mumbai Police on charges of sedition and insulting national symbols. The Mumbai police acted on a complaint filed by Mumbai-based third year law student and Central Railway employee Amit Katanvare. The case was filed in December 2011 alleging that Trivedi has drawn a controversial cartoon and placed it at a protest organized by anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare.

Response

Aseem Trivedi defended his action at the time of arrest. He said, "If telling the truth is against the country, then I am a traitor... If raising voice against injustice is against the country, then I am a traitor... If the definitions of 'patriot' and 'traitor' have changed in the course of time, then I am a traitor. I believe in the Constitution as well as Dr B R Ambedkar. Seeing disrespect to the Constitution pains me and I am trying to stop this through my cartoons... I am following the path shown by Mahatma Gandhi... Do not get bothered seeing me inside jail. Remember, Anna Hazare has said that one should go to jail for the sake of nation,"

He has been remanded in police custody till September 16. Aseem initially refused bail till the charges of sedition were dropped. Aseem Trivedi was represented by his lawyer Vijay Hiremath.

Outrage

The arrest of Trivedi sparked a national outraged with many politicians, political parties, social activists and general public airing their dissent against the arrest of Trivedi. Many have posted their messages on social networking sites criticizing the arrest of Trivedi. Chairman of the Press Council of India Markandey Kaju, India Against Corruption (IAC) activist Arvind Kejriwal etc. have criticized the arrest.

BJP senior leader LK Advani condemned the arrest and said that the draconian mindset of the present rulers is born out of failure and desperation. He added, "...Dictatorships cannot afford laughter because people may laugh at the dictator, and that would not do. In all the years of Hitler, there never was a good comedy, not a good cartoon, not a parody, not a spoof."


High Court grants bail

The Bombay High Court has granted him bail on September 11, 2012 on a bond for Rs. 5000. He was released from the Arthur Road jail next day and was greeted by volunteers of the IAC. Aseem Trivedi thanked IAC and all others for their support and vowed that he would continue his fight for freedom of expression and against the sedition law. Assem Trivedi was released on September 12, 2012.

Special Investigation Team formed

The Mumbai police has formed a Special Investigation Team to probe the case of the Kanpur-based cartoonist Aseem Trivedi who is charged with sedition. The team is headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police GT Padwal. Deputy Police Commissioner Namdev Chavan told reporters on 13 September 2012 that the importance of the case has led to the formation of the SIT. The probe was earlier conducted by Bandra Kurla Police Station. The SIT will collect all the evidence collected so far.

Maharashtra Government orders probe

Following the outrage over the arrest of Aseem Trivedi, the Maharashtra Government has ordered an inquiry into the whole issue. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar raised concerns over the invocation of sedition charges on Aseem Trivedi, which forced Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan order the inquiry. The police officers and law officers who were involved in the arrest are likely to face an inquiry.

Aseem Trivedi is defiant that he would draw cartoons to raise issues like corruption. He was received by his parents and hordes of supporters at the railway station in Unnao district near to Kanpur on September 17, 2012. Trivedi said that his mission is to root out of corruption from the country.

Governments drops sedition charges

The Maharashtra Government has dropped the sedition charges against cartoonist Aseem Trivedi. The state government has informed the Bombay High Court on 12 October 2012. The government also told the court that a circular would be issued soon to all the police stations in the state directing them to take legal opinion before booking anyone on sedition charges.

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