Cartoonist Arrested for “Sedition” in India

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Aseem Trivedi

Aseem Trivedi

Aseem Trivedi, a cartoonist for prominent anti-internet censorship and anti-corruption groups, was arrested on charges of “sedition” for his caricatures of various government institutions in India. The arrest comes on top of a ham-handed but chilling crackdown on social media and freedom of expression in India in the weeks following violence between tribals and Muslims in the northeastern Indian state of Assam.

The charges of “sedition” in theory carry quite a high penalty if someone is convicted. But when you hear the charges against Trivedi, you have to wonder what the fuss is all about. In fact, I’d argue that his arrest will do more damage to India’s institutions than his cartoons. Just have a read of what C. Bhosale, senior inspector of police had to say as to why he was arrested:

“The cartoons by Trivedi depicted Parliament as a commode and showed the national emblem with wolves instead of lions. The cartoons were obviously aimed at creating unrest in the society.”

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A Murder and Anti-Corruption Protests in India

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It’s crazy season now in India’s capital. But the normally darkly humorous unpredictability of Indian politics has now taken a dark turn with the tragic murder of a right to information activist Shehla Masood in front of her home in Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh.

She was a twitter follower of mine (you can also follow me at @acharya_dude) and I admired her perseverance and thirst for social justice. I only hope that her dreams of an end to corruption and human rights violations will be fulfilled in the long term. In the short term, the authorities must launch an investigation into this murder and take action to apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators of this crime.

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