Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil on Tuesday said no injustice would be meted out to Kanpur-based cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, now in judicial custody on sedition charges.
Mr. Patil, who earlier said there were no grounds for the police to take Mr. Trivedi into custody, noted that authorities in the State were working on rolling back the sedition charges.
“The investigation is under way at the highest level. We will do everything possible according to law and try to close this case as soon as possible. We do not wish to do injustice to anybody. The investigation officer will assess all the charges,” he said.
In the same vein, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said, “The matter is being looked into,” in a brief comment to journalists after a function here.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray came out in support of the cartoonist, demanding immediate withdrawal of the sedition charge.
“I simply fail to understand why Aseem Trivedi was arrested in the first place and why a charge of sedition was slapped on him…where are the great preachers of freedom of expression now when we need them the most?”
Mr. Trivedi “was not insulting Parliament or the national emblem. He was merely attempting to convey the expression of a country torn apart and desecrated by endless corruption and a never-ending list of scams,” Mr. Thackeray told journalists.
“It is ludicrous that people who have actually committed treasonable activities are as yet unpunished, while a case of sedition has been slapped on Aseem Trivedi,” the MNS chief said alluding to the pending sentences against the Parliament terror attack accused Afzal Guru and, more recently, gunman Ajmal Amir Kasab. The Pradesh Congress Committee, however, took a dim view of Mr. Trivedi’s cartoons.
“Any activity should be within the law. In that respect, his cartoons are actionable,” said PCC president Manikrao Thakre.