New Delhi: Condemning the arrest of cartoonist Aseem Trivedi in Mumbai, the CPI(M) on Monday said it was "outrageous" that he had been slapped with sedition charges for drawing cartoons against corruption.

The party demanded his immediate release and withdrawal of the charges against him, saying "there is an urgent need to review the sedition clause in the Indian Penal Code which is now being misused frequently."

"Trivedi has been arrested for drawing cartoons and publishing them as part of an anti-corruption campaign. It is outrageous that he has been charged with sedition," the CPI(M) Politburo said in a statement.

Arrested for allegedly posting seditious content on his website, Trivedi was remanded to police custody till September 16 by a Mumbai court yesterday.

He was arrested on the basis of a complaint filed in December by a member of Republican Party of India complaining that Trivedi had put up banners mocking the Constitution during an Anna Hazare rally last year in Bandra.

Ashok said, his son Aseem, a native of neighbouring district Unnav, had an inclination towards drawing since childhood and had worked as a cartoonist with several Kanpur-based newspapers before moving to Delhi one-and-half year ago as a freelance cartoonist.

He exhibited his cartoons during the Anna Hazare rally held last year at the Bandra Kurla Complex after coming in contact with 'India Against Corruption', he added.

After an FIR was registered against Aseem, a Mumbai police team contacted Ashok at Shuklaganj in Unnao on August 30 which was when Ashok gave them Aseem's Delhi number.

Before his arrest, Aseem had come to Shuklaganj once on September one and was received like a hero by the locals, Ashok claimed while adding that the cartoonist's arrest came as a shock to him and the locals here.

Widespread protests are being carried out in Kanpur and Unnao against Aseem's arrest. Press Council of India Chairman Justice Markandey Katju also supported Aseem on Sunday when he criticised the cartoonist's arrest, saying that he has done nothing illegal.

(Agencies)

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