Mumbai: Anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday demanded that all the charges against the jailed cartoonist Aseem Trivedi be dropped or else he will sit on protest outside the Arthur Road prison here from Saturday.
    
"I spoke to Aseem. By Friday, all the charges should be dropped and he should be freed or else from Saturday onwards we will sit here (outside Arthur Jail) to protest his arrest. Either you release Aseem or arrest us," Kejriwal said outside the jail after meeting the Kanpur-based artist.
    
"Aseem had fought in support of Lokpal and against corruption but he has been described as a traitor. However those stealing coal are termed as patriots. This will not be tolerated by the countrymen," he said.
    
Kejriwal said cases against Aseem should be dropped as many leaders including Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni and Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari themselves have said that a proper case has not been made out against the cartoonist.
    
The 25-year-old cartoonist was arrested on September 8 under IPC Section 124 (sedition), section 66 A of Information Technology Act and section 2 of Prevention of Insults to Nation Honour Act.
    
He was remanded to police custody till September 16 yesterday by a court here. The freelancer has been accused of putting up banners mocking the Constitution during a rally of anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare here late last year and posting the same on his website. Trivedi was arrested on the basis of a complaint filed by a member of Republican Party of India, Amit Katarnayea.

Meanwhile, Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) has also come out in support of cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, and demanded his immediate release and withdrawal of charges against him, failing which they would observe September 13 as 'Protest Day'.

The DUJ also asked the government to immediately have a fresh look at the "outdated" law on sedition to ensure that journalists, writers and cartoonists were not made "guinea pigs of vested interests whether they are at the state or at the Centre".

In a joint-statement, DUJ President Sujata Madhok and General Secretary S K Pandhe said it was high time that the dubious use of sedition laws to muzzle and silence dissent that have a long history going back to British era -- especially the misuse of the so called reasonable restrictions clauses on free speech -- was changed.

The DUJ would hold a stock taking meeting tomorrow and would look into continued attacks on the press, increasing dangers to the journalists and journalism and the Working Journalists Act and certain aspects of the jailed journalist Kazmi case, they said.

(Agencies)

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