Chennai: Cartoonist Bala arrested for making ‘derogatory’ cartoon

Chennai: A 36-year-old Cartoonist has been arrested on Sunday after his cartoon depicting the government officials including the Tamil Nadu CM were taken as offence.

Cartoonist Bala G is charged with publishing defamatory and obscene material under the penal code and information technology act, crimes which are punishable by five years in jail. He drew cartoons blaming no action against the loan lenders by the government officials which also included TN CM Edappadi K Palaniswami.

Police have described his uploaded cartoon as obscene on social media Facebook. The cartoon was followed by a recent drastic suicide incident where a labourer Isaki Muthu, 32, set his family and himself on fire after dousing them in kerosene in the state capital Chennai.

The labourer set his family and himself on fire in the collector’s office campus in Tirunelveli which resulted in the death of his wife and two daughters within hours of the incident while he died a few days later.

The labourer took the drastic decision after no action was taken up by the authorities whom he approached against the loan lender who gave him the loan at a very higher interest.

Chief Minister Palaniswami reportedly appealed people to come forward with their complaints against the loan lenders.

The loan lender was only arrested after the family committed suicide. It is reported that the loan the lender had lent to Muthu was nearly Rs. 1.4 lakhs.

The cartoonist arrest was made after Tirunelveli collector Sandeep Nanduri filed a complaint against Bala seeking action against him for the “derogatory, demeaning and malicious cartoon”.

The District Chief in his complaint has said, “In the cartoon, he (Bala) depicts the burning body of a baby which is watched by 3 persons without clothes” and who are identified as Nellai police commissioner, Nellai Collector and Chief Minister.

“The three persons are depicted as naked and carrying currency notes which are used to cover their private parts. This highly demeaning cartoon shows the government officers in poor light and also casts aspersions about their integrity… the Chief Minister in a highly derogatory and belittling way”.

Criticisizing the action taken against the cartoonist for his cartoon, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) leader Anbumani Ramadoss called for his immediate release.