Cartoonist arrested over 'demeaning' caricature critical of Tamil Nadu CM, officials

Monday, 06 Nov, 2017

Bala's arrest by a special Tirunelveli District Crime Branch Police team led to an uproar on the social media. "I will continue to draw cartoons".

Bala had been arrested after he made a cartoon depicting Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, Tirunelveli district collector Sandeep Nanduri and Tirunelveli commissioner of police Kapil Kumar Sarathkar in an "inappropriate" way as they stood watching the self-immolation of a child. The cartoon in contention depicts the Nellai Collector, Chief Minister and the Superintendent of Police naked and covering their private parts with wads of cash while closing their eyes to a child burning in front of them.

" I didn't commit murder, have no regrets".

Soon after his release, the cartoonist said he would continue to draw in order to highlight wrongdoings of the government. Despite being instructed by the collectorate, the police took no action against the moneylender, Gopi added.

In response, journalists across Chennai will stage protest against the arrest at 4 pm on Monday, says a Times Now report.

On October 26, the cartoon was uploaded on a website, days after a man and his wife set themselves and their two kids afire at the Tirunelveli Collectorate complex allegedly due to harassment by a money-lender. He has been charged with Section 67 of the Information Technology Act (Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) and Section 501 of the Indian Penal Code (Printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory).

The police had later arrested three persons, including the financier and his wife, in connection with the incident. The 36-year-old cartoonist G.Balakrishnan alias Bala was booked following a complaint lodged by district collector Nanduri. After the incident, Palaniswami said the state had in 2003 enacted a legislation against the charging of exorbitant interest rates by money-lenders.