Indian cartoonist charged with sedition freed from jail


A defiant Indian cartoonist charged with sedition was released from prison on bail Wednesday, four days after being arrested in a case that has triggered outrage from free speech campaigners.
“Although I’m free, the battle will continue,” Aseem Trivedi, whose sketches often mock the government for corruption, told a mob of supporters and reporters outside Arthur Road jail in Mumbai. “Whenever there is an infringement of legal rights, our fight will continue,” he said. Trivedi, who was arrested after a private complaint about his work, walked out of prison after the High Court in Mumbai granted him bail late Tuesday on a bond of 5,000 rupees ($90). His arrest at the weekend sparked a backlash against the government, which has been accused of using British colonial-era sedition laws to crack down on dissent. “I’m happy there has been a debate on sedition,” the bearded and bespectacled Trivedi, 25, said after his release, flashing a victory sign to the crowd. “In parliament, we see money exchanging hands (and) scandals worth millions being disclosed,” he said. “You tell me who is embarrassing the parliament, me or the politicians? I have committed no crime.” Cartoons on Trivedi’s website include one of the national emblem with lions replaced by blood-thirsty wolves, and another depicting the parliament in New Delhi as a huge toilet bowl. One sketch titled “Gang Rape of Mother India” shows a woman draped in the Indian flag being held down by a politician and a bureaucrat as a horned animal depicting corruption appears ready to attack her.