Mumbai Press Club condemns cartoonist’s incarceration

Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil on Monday said there were no grounds for the police to arrest cartoonist Aseem Trivedi.

“The government is trying to get him released as soon as possible. I am personally looking into the matter. The police will surrender its custody,” he said in Nashik.

The Mumbai Press Club has condemned the cartoonist’s arrest.

In a statement on Monday, it said Mr. Trivedi, a well known anti-corruption activist, was only portraying the rot in the system through his cartoon images.

His blog posts meant no harm to either the nation’s emblems or to the Constitution. By using an archaic British law where any criticism of the government can be construed as ‘sedition’, and by freezing Trivedi’s blog sites, the police and the government had shown their distaste for freedom of speech and expression, a fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution, the statement pointed out.

The Press Club demanded Mr. Trivedi’s immediate release and asked the government to review the sedition law.

The Press Club has organised a meeting on Tuesday to discuss Mr. Trivedi’s arrest and its implications. It has invited civil society members, including the retired Bombay High Court judge Hosbet Suresh, civil rights campaigner Binayak Sen and the incarcerated cartoonist’s co-activists and colleagues.