Political cartoonist and activist Aseem Trivedi was produced in court on Monday by the police and sent to judicial custody.
In their written application to court, the police said that investigations into the matter had been completed and they felt no need to keep Trivedi in police custody any further.
Trivedi has the option of seeking bail, but refused to do so, saying that he is not a criminal. Earlier this morning, the state Home Minister R R Patil told media persons that there was no need to keep Trivedi in police custody, and that his culpability would be decided by court. He promised to oversee the investigation personally.
There was high drama in Bandra yesterday, with many supporters of India Against Corruption (IAC) gathering outside the Bandra police station since morning. The supporters chanted slogans against the government and censorship — slogans like ‘Qasab ko biryani aur desh bhakt ko jail’, ‘Inquilab Zindabad, Vande Mataram,’ and ‘Anna Hazare aandhi hai, desh ka naya Gandhi hai’ could be heard ringing in the air.
Supporters, many of whom were college students, were seen conducting a signature campaign outside Bandra police station in support of Trivedi. A college student who bunked college to attend the protest told MiD DAY, “The participation of more young people in this campaign will help it reach another level.”
By 3 pm, the police was ready to take Trivedi to Bandra court, where his supporters had already congregated. He was presented to the special additional chief metropolitan magistrate, with cops seeking judicial custody. Since the plea had not been conveyed to the additional chief metropolitan magistrate, the cops were asked to submit a fresh application for the same. Trivedi was then produced before the magistrate at 3.45 pm.
Meanwhile, protestors chanted slogans against Sharad Pawar, R R Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Rajesh Solanki, who had come all the way from Goregaon, said, “When these politicians fight in the parliament and bang chairs on each other it is fine, but a nationalist is charged and arrested by the police.”
In the court, the chief magistrate asked Trivedi if he had any complaint against the behaviour of the police, to which he replied in the negative. The court then granted him judicial custody till September 24.
In a statement released to the press from custody, Trivedi said that he would not apply for bail but carry on his andolan from inside the Arthur Road jail. He said that the sedition charges against him should be removed, and that Section 124 (A) of the IPC, which has been in place from the British era, should be revoked. He claimed that the British had implemented the law so that freedom fighters could not say anything against the Queen.
Alok Tripathi, a friend and fellow activist, said, “Aseem himself did not want to seek bail for a crime which he has not committed.” He further added that he and Trivedi have vowed to wear black clothes till the law is changed.
The protesters turned fierce in the mean time, blocking the road and not letting the police vehicle take Trivedi back to Arthur Road jail. One of the protesters even hit the car, breaking its glass. Cops nabbed him but let him off with a warning. A cop said that if one of the protestors were arrested, the others too would court arrest.
Meanwhile, Trivedi’s parents have been informed of his arrest and are on their way from Kanpur to meet their son.