Cartoonist sent to jail, Cong says uncalled for
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Freelance cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, who was arrested by the Mumbai Police on sedition and other charges, was sent to jail on Monday after a local court remanded him to two-week judicial custody.
However, as voices of protest over his arrest grew, the ruling Congress-NCP government seemed to be distancing itself from the action against the 25-year-old. Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said in New Delhi that they were not in favour of an arrest. While seeking respect for "national symbols", Tewari said: "I have no hesitation in saying that the arrest is a bit too stretched... over-reaction is certainly not called for." The police could have admitted the complaint but left the matter for the courts to decide, he added.
Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil said in Nashik that his government had nothing to with the complaint filed against Trivedi and that they were trying to seek his release.
Trivedi himself did not seek bail on Monday when produced before a magistrate. In a statement in Hindi released on his behalf by the India Against Corruption, he said he was not seeking bail because he was proud of what he did and would do it repeatedly. "...Till the time the charges of sedition are dropped against me, I will continue to be in jail," he stated.
The Kanpur-based cartoonist was arrested on Saturday after he surrendered over a complaint filed in December by a member of the Republican Party of India, Amit Katarnayea. Trivedi was accused of putting up "seditious" banners mocking the Constitution during an Anna Hazare rally in Mumbai last year and posting the same on his website.
He was arrested under IPC Section 124 (sedition), Section 66 A of Information Technology Act and Section 2 of the Prevention of Insults to Nation Honour Act. Police told a Bandra court on Monday that they didn't need his custody. They also said they couldn't recover the contentious posters as these had been thrown away.
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