Couple of months ago, Aseem Trivedi had, in an interview with Merinews.com stated that 'democracy was incomplete, unless people of the country weren't allowed to say or do what they want to. But his quest to fight for this freedom seems to have landed the young cartoonist in trouble.
Mumbai Police arrested Trivedi over the weekend after acting on a complaint, lodged by a lawyer from Mumbai who found his cartoons an 'insult' to the Indian constitution. The arrest, however didn't even go well with people outside the journalistic fraternity. Justice Markandey Katju, chairman of the press council even compared the Mumbai police with 'Nazi war criminals', calling the arrest illegal.
Though most of the people have condemned the arrest, there are also many who believe that the national symbols can't be insulted or mocked at. Has Trivedi crossed the line by caricaturising the Indian constitution as commode, Balraj replied: “The topic is open to debate. We should not get too touchy about such issues. He is stating the truth through these cartoons, though, it might hurt many a people.”
Kapil Ghalop, another cartoonist from Maharashtra, however, urges a sense of caution while drawing cartoons. “It is better not to touch (cartoonise) some subjects, which can hurt the sentiments of the nation as well as the people.” Though, he acknowledges that he has yet not seen the cartoons for which Trivedi has been charged with sedition.
Though there a number of articles castigating the government on various corruption allegations that are published everyday in national and regional newspapers, yet only cartoonists face the ire. Needless to say that cartoons strike a chord with common people who can't or don't have time to read the newspaper articles, yet that can't be a justification for the government to take unwarranted action against cartoonists.
Another negative side of the arrest of cartoonists is that youngsters who are creative and want to make cartooning their career would be forced to think twice. The fear of getting arrested for showing truth could even convince them to think of choosing other career options. Balraj, however doesn't agree with these fears. “They (young cartoonists) will not be discouraged. The politicians try to create fear. They want to show that they have the power.”
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