News / Asia

    Indian Cartoonist’s Arrest Sparks Protests, Free Speech Debate

    Indian policemen escort political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, center in black as they leave a court in Mumbai, India, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012.Indian policemen escort political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, center in black as they leave a court in Mumbai, India, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012.
    x
    Indian policemen escort political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, center in black as they leave a court in Mumbai, India, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012.
    Indian policemen escort political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, center in black as they leave a court in Mumbai, India, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012.
    Anjana Pasricha
    NEW DELHI, India — Outrage has been sparked in India by the arrest of a cartoonist who produced satirical drawings protesting political corruption.  Aseem Trivedi's arrest on charges of sedition is being seen as an attack on freedom of expression.

    Anti-corruption activists, opposition politicians and citizens held protests in Mumbai demanding the release of 25-year-old Trivedi.

    Trivedi was arrested Saturday on the complaint of a lawyer for a series of cartoons that satirized political corruption and allegedly mocked the Indian constitution.  

    In one of his cartoons, he depicts parliament as a toilet bowl.  In another he replaces lions in India’s national emblem with wolves, and the words “truth shall prevail” with “corruption shall prevail.”  

    Trivedi has been involved in an anti-corruption movement that has turned the spotlight on alleged widespread graft.  
       
    Protestors slammed his arrest, calling it an attack on freedom of expression.  Among them is Mayank Gandhi, a leading anti corruption activist.   

    “This sedition charge that they have put, should be put against anti-nationals," said Trivedi. "Here is a nationalist man who is trying to put his views across in a cartoon.  Mature democracy like India, we are not a banana republic, that just somebody drawing a cartoon, which shows his anger against the way this country is being misused by the politicians or by the government ...”

    Trivedi has refused to apply for bail until the sedition charge is dropped.  Following his arrest he said, “if telling the truth makes me a traitor, then I am one.”  He told reporters that he did not intend to insult national symbols, but to show how politicians are insulting the nation.  

    Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni says drawing cartoons is not an offense, but self regulation is important.  

    “At the same time there are certain ground rules which we all have to follow," said Soni. "When the constitution ensures freedom of expression to each one of us, it also lays down that we as Indian citizens will respect all national symbols.”

    The arrest has revived debate on what some regard as rising intolerance among politicians and the government to criticism.  

    Last month, the government blocked access to several Twitter spoof accounts imitating the prime minister.  Last year, the government wanted Internet companies such as Google to screen and remove material which was derogatory of politicians.  

    The government has also responded angrily to several articles in the foreign media which have been critical of the prime minister and his handling of corruption.   

    Earlier this year, police in West Bengal state arrested a professor for posting, on the Internet, cartoons that ridiculed the state’s chief minister.  He was released following an outcry.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Satish Chandra from: Toronto
    September 10, 2012 11:36 AM
    How about the cartoonist who was brutally tortured and beaten to death and his body dumped in a ditch outside Delhi? See "INDIA'S TRAITOR GOVERNMENT AND MEDIA" : IndiasTraitorGovtAndMediaDOTblogspotDOTcom .

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora