Mumbai: As the outrage continued to grow over the arrest of Kanpur-based freelance cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, India Against Corruption (IAC) member Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday demanded that all charges against the cartoonist be dropped.
Trivedi, 25, was arrested on Saturday under IPC Section 124 (sedition), Section 66 A of Information Technology Act and Section 2 of Prevention of Insults to Nation Honour Act for posting seditious contents on his website. He is currently in judicial custody till September 24.
Kejriwal, who met Trivedi at Arthur Road Jail today, said if by Friday all charges against the cartoonist are not dropped, then from Saturday he would sit on protest outside the jail.
Kejriwal described Trivedi as a patriot who has been fighting against corruption for the last one year.
"We met Aseem now. I appreciate the courage of this boy. He can never be a traitor. He fought for the Lokpal. Those who steal coal, they are true patriots, and those who fight against corruption, are traitors. The nation will not tolerate the attitude of this government," said Kejriwal.
"If all charges against Aseem Trivedi are not dropped by Friday, and he is not released from jail, then we will sit outside here from Saturday," he added.
Kejriwal had yesterday sought the release of the jailed cartoonist.
The IAC member and his colleagues Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, in a joint press conference at Ghaziabad, demanded that Trivedi should be released unconditionally and all the charges against him, including the baseless sedition charge, must be dropped.
The anti-corruption group said that it stood for freedom of expression and was anguished by the growing culture of intolerance for creative expression in the public domain.
"Trivedi is a young talented and fearless cartoonist. Like many artists of his generation, he was happy to add his voice to public outcry against corruption. Some of his cartoons have been used by IAC," said Kejriwal.
Trivedi was initially remanded in police custody till September 16 on Sunday. However, on producing Trivedi before a Bandra court on Monday, police said their investigations in the case were over and his custodial interrogation was not needed.
The cartoonist was then sent to judicial custody till September 24 after he refused to seek bail.
The Kanpur-based artist has been accused of putting up banners mocking the Constitution during a rally of anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare here late last year and posting the same on his website.
Police informed the court the posters drawn by Trivedi had been put up at the rally but it was very hard to recover them at this stage as they were thrown by the cartoonist at the rally venue in Bandra Kurla Complex.
Police further said Trivedi was using a mobile phone registered on his father`s name. They said in so far as posting of Trivedi`s cartoons on a social networking site was concerned, the Cyber Cell of the department was carrying out investigations.
Trivedi was arrested on the basis of a complaint filed by a member of Republican Party of India, Amit Katarnayea.
(With Agency inputs)