Cartoonist Arrested for “Sedition” in India

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.”

It’s not obvious to me at all. In fact, just judge for yourself as to whether the cartoonist or the Indian parliament has been more of a problem for India:

The current Lok Sabha, which [Devika Malik, an analyst at PRS Legislative Research] said is on a path to becoming the least productive in the country’s history, has passed an average of 40 bills a year since its members were elected in 2009. By comparison, the first Lok Sabha passed an average of 72 bills each year.

Seems to me that a cartoonist highlighting the mockery of government institutions by the people in power and the main opposition party is exactly what India needs more of.

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6 thoughts on “Cartoonist Arrested for “Sedition” in India

  1. This is just not right, for the country that loves to tout itself as the world's largest democracy. Let freedom prevail!

  2. Governments around the globe are using social unrest as an excuse to implement totalitarian policies to squash legal free speech that exposes them. Whatever they can get away with.

  3. Just read some rather harsh criticism of Amnesty, the point being that your leadership is US state dept led,

    I do question why the only mention of Assange found by using your website search tool, is a link to criticism of Ecuador.

    As a donor, I would like to be reassured with a strong rebuttal and some attention to the Assange situation.


  4. Assem Trivedi did not insult our Parliament but he tried to show that the MP's sitting in parliament are as wolf not a LION as they save Country.. From Lucknow, Vikas Jaiswal, Human Rights activist.

  5. This is outrageous from the part of the government, be it in any country. It is the right of the people to live by their beliefs and they are granted the right to freedom of speech and expression. This is in addition to the right given to the media by the Constitution.

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