Tempering with Freedom of Expression
I am sure by now, people all over India and also abroad, must have come to know about a young man named Aseem Trivedi who has recently been arrested by the Mumbai police on the charge of SEDITION.
Aseem is a young man of 24 and an activist of “India Against Corruption” a voluntary organisation which is fighting peacefully under the able leadership of Anna Hazare to get Ombudsman bill introduced in the country. The bill , is pending with the Government since last over 40 years and no political party in the country seems to be interested in bring it. The result is obvious – a rampant corruption at every level in the country.
Coming back to Aseem, as a cartoonist, he had drawn a cartoon in which he had shown Indian Parliament building as a toilet and the three lions head as those of jackals. This was primarily the frustration of the cartoonist against the corrupt Ministers, Members of Parliament and other politicians who had been systematically looting the country’s wealth since its independence 65 years ago.
There is no doubt that the cartoon drawn was in bad taste but it can not construed sedition. Because the intension of the cartoonist was not to insult the Parliament or the national emblem, but his disgust towards those occupying the Parliament & degrading it by their acts.
There have been and even today, instances where national flags &emblem have been carelessly handled by many of the Govt. functionaries. On many occasions national flags have been hoisted up side down- with green colour on top instead of the saffron. But those senior functionaries were never punished. Because there was no intention as such to disrespect the flag .
A case of disrespect to the national flag was recently reported by a leading news paper. The case is of 9th September 2012 at a place known as Kashipur in Uttarakhand on the eve of Pt. Govind Ballabh Pant Jayanti . The Chief Minister of the Uttarakhand was the chief guest. The function was over but no one bothered to take the flag down. It remained hoisted till late evening.
In another incident, a torn national flag was noticed furling at the Collectorate building at Rudrapur (Uttarakhand) on 14 Sept. 12 by a journalist. The flag was torn and discoloured as it was there, day & night since long. Again, no Govt. functionary ever bothered to see that as per norms laid down, the flag was supposed to be hoisted in the morning & removed respectfully before the last light every day. Should the people responsible for these lapses, be charged with SEDITION ?
Some time back, on one of the TV channel, we saw some Ministers and MPs being interviewed .They were asked if they knew the country’s National Anthem ? It was surprising to see many of the so called leaders, not able to recite the National Anthem. Should not such leaders be taken to task & asked to learn the Anthem?
Why Aseem is being put behind the bar, when the Indian national flag has been burnt openly
in Sri Nagar & other parts of the country by the separatists time and again. The reason is obvious. Aseem is actively involved with the India Against corruption Movement which the present Government is not able to tolerate .