Cartoonist charged with sedition says he is ready to surrender
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Charged with sedition and insulting national emblems in his cartoons, Aseem Trivedi — a political cartoonist based in Kanpur — claims he will travel to Mumbai and surrender to the police in a couple of days. The Mumbai Police's cyber wing had blocked Trivedi's website, www.cartoonsagainstcorruption.com, last December, sparking a debate on freedom of expression in India.
Cyber Crime police officers in Mumbai, however, said they "did not recall" such a case, as objectionable sites are blocked routinely by them.
Trivedi, 25, is a freelance cartoonist and 2012 recipient of the 'Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award' of Virginia-based Cartoonists Rights Network International. He shares the award with Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat who is on Time magazine's list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. Controversial cartoons parodying national symbols and emblems were displayed by Trivedi during the anti-corruption protests led by Anna Hazare in December 2011, leading to private complaints being filed against him.
In January, a case of sedition was filed against him at the Beed district court. In another case before the Bombay HC, Trivedi has been charged with insulting India's national symbols.
According to Trivedi, a Mumbai Police team visited his residence in Kanpur on August 30. "I was not at home, but my parents were taken to the local police station. By the time I reached the police station, the police team had left. It was only after I made calls to the Mumbai Police that I was told about a complaint filed by advocate Rajendra Pratap Yadav. The police did not send me any notice earlier," Trivedi told The Indian Express.