Mumbai: After having attracted criticism from various quarters over arrest of Kanpur-based freelance cartoonist Aseem Trivedi for making objectionable banners insulting the Indian constitution during Anna Hazare's anti-corruption agitation in Mumbai last December, the Maharashtra government has decided to withdraw sedition charges against him.

Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil said the state government is considering Trivedi's case sympathetically and planning for his speedy release. On Sunday, the special court sent him in police custody till September 16.

The arrest of Aseem Trivedi on sedition charges has snowballed into albatross neck for Maharashtra government. Aseem has refused to apply for bail in the case until the sedition charges - which attract a maximum life imprisonment - are withdrawn.

He was sent to judicial custody till Sep 24. The Mumbai police has arrested him on Saturday on sedition charges.

Meanwhile, Aseem’s arrest developed the political angle and several politicians condemned the arrest of young cartoonist and stated it as “wrong ful and usurpation of Right to Freedom”. After sensing the seriousness of matter the Mumbai police forced to order the release of Aseem.

Press Council of India (PCI) chairperson Markandey Katju roundly criticized Trivedi's arrest and termed it "wrongful". India Against Corruption (IAC) Mumbai branch chief Mayank Gandhi said that the cartoon was not against nation, it was a sign of anger towards government.

The Kanpur-based cartoonist, depicted Parliament as a commode and showed the national emblem with wolves instead of lions and the slogan Bhrashtameva Jayate in place of Satyameva Jayate.

Amit Katarnavre, member of Bhartiya republical Party approached the police and filed a complaint against Trivedi under relevent sections of the Indian Penal Code, the National Emblem Act and the Information Technology Act.

On his arrest Aseem said, “I am not seeking bail because I am proud of whatever I did, and this I will do it repeatedly. I am not a criminal that I should deposit money and seek bail, but till the time the charges of sedition are not dropped against me, I will continue to be in jail.”

Katju said, the Aseem’s arrest is serious crime. Government must find out and arrest those politicians and police officials who are responsible for this.

(Agencies)

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