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 for his controversial cartoons, was sent to jail on Monday after a local court remanded him to judicial custody for two weeks.
The order by the Bandra court came after the police, faced with widespread outrage, said it did not need further custody of Trivedi, 25. As voices of protest against his arrest grew, Maharashtra's Congress-NCP government too seemed to be distancing itself from the police action.
Trivedi was arrested on Saturday in a December 2011 case against him for his cartoons parodying national symbols. The case was registered at the Bandra-Kurla Complex police station following a complaint by a Navi Mumbai-based law student and Central Railway employee, Amit Katanavare.
A holiday court had on Sunday remanded him to police custody until September 16. On Monday, Additional Public Prosecutor B B Yele told the court that the police had completed their investigation and Trivedi's custody was not essential.
Trivedi was accused of putting up "seditious" banners mocking the constitution during Anna Hazare's campaign 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.
Trivedi's lawyer Vijay Hiremath said that Trivedi had decided to apply for bail only if the police dropped the sedition charge. "I have not received any direction from him. He wants the police to first drop sedition charge against him," Hiremath said.
India Against Corruption activists, with whom Trivedi has been closely associated, had gathered outside the court in large numbers and shouted slogans in his support.
In his statement, distributed by IAC volunteers, Trivedi 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."
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