Mumbai, (IANS) Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi Wednesday said he made no mistake in drawing cartoons, and that he would not apologise since he had done no wrong.
The 25-year-old Trivedi walked out of jail earlier Wednesday, three days after he was charged with sedition. Trivedi, an activist of India Against Corruption (IAC), was given bail Tuesday. The case has led to outrage in the country.
“I respect the law, but I do not respect a law that, even today, makes us feel as if we are not living in a free country,” he said, addressing media persons here after his release.
When asked if it was appropriate to draw a cartoon depicting 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab urinating on the Indian Constitution, Trivedi maintained that he expressed things as he saw them, and there was no reason to think it was improper. He said he saw no need for an apology.
Trivedi slammed the sedition law under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, stating that the law was a colonial relic that was used by the British government to “silence rebel voices”.
“This law should be repealed from our Constitution. It is the only law more misused than used. It is archaic and befitting a monarchy, not a democracy,” he said.
Trivedi was accompanied by social activist Dr Binayak Sen who was also charged with sedition and is still fighting the charge. Activist with India Against Corruption (IAC) Mayank Gandhi was also present at the meeting with media people.
After he was released from Mumbai’s Arthur Road prison in south Mumbai earlier Wednesday, Tiwari had said that he would continue to fight for the freedom of expression.
“This fight, my fight does not end here. We will continue to fight this battle till the sedition charges under Section 124A (of Indian Penal Code) are dropped,” he said, soon after emerging from the Arthur Road prison.
Asked why he had earlier refused bail, Trivedi said that he wanted the government to drop the sedition charges against him first.
“I did not want to send out a message that I am not cooperating. But I also wanted the government to accept that they made a mistake by charging me with sedition. Hence I refused to accept bail,” he said.
“However, I am not uncooperative and hence after IAC members talked me into it, I accepted the bail,” he added.
The Bombay High Court Tuesday granted bail against a bond of Rs.5,000 to Trivedi in a public interest litigation filed by lawyer Sanskar Marathe.
Trivedi was arrested last Saturday and sent to police custody for seven days.
He was charged with sedition for drawing cartoons insulting Indian emblems, including the Constitution, during Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement in Mumbai Dec 2011.
Following nationwide outrage, Mumbai police Monday produced him before a court where he was remanded to judicial custody till Sep 24 but on Tuesday, he was granted bail by the high court.