Other States

Row over cartoons linking scribes to Maoists

A controversy erupted in Chhattisgarh after cartoons linking journalists to Maoists went viral on a mobile messaging app and social media groups on Tuesday, a day after protests by scribes against the arrests of two local journalists.

Three unsigned cartoons depicting journalists as “friends of Maoists” and “kind-hearted toward rebels” were circulated on WhatsApp groups and Facebook allegedly at the behest of police.

The depictions stoked a furore as they surfaced a day after a major protest by journalists in Jagdalpur town against the arrest of the scribes based in the restive Bastar region over allegations of Maoist links.

Renowned cartoonist Assem Trivedi had drawn 10 cartoons in support of the journalists’ protest, depicting the plight of Bastar journalists caught between police and Maoists.

Senior journalist Kamal Shukla, who leads the campaign for the release of the arrested journalists, said the anti-journalist cartoons were created to oppose Mr.Trivedi’s works. He blamed Bastar range Inspector General (IG) of Police Mr.S.R.P. Kalluri for circulating the cartoons.

However, Mr.Kalluri did not respond when asked about his role behind the controversial cartoons. Other senior police officers posted in Bastar also maintained a silence on the issue.

Initially, the cartoons were posted in some WhatsApp groups by a police officer based in Sukma district. The officer, however, denied making or directing other persons to draw the cartoons.

Raising the issue in the Assembly, Congress MLA Satyanarayan Sharma demanded a probe over the cartoons, blaming a “top cop” posted in Bastar for creating the toons.

Reacting to the controversy, Chhattisgarh Home Minister Ramsevek Paikara said the matter would be investigated.

However, dissatisfied with the Home Minister’s assurance, journalist groups and unions in Chhattisgarh said they would lodge an FIR with the police in connection with the incident.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 3:17:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/row-over-cartoons-linking-scribes-to-maoists/article8018883.ece

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