Popular Tamil Nadu cartoonist G Bala was arrested on Sunday for posting an ‘obscene’ cartoon portraying the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami in a wrong notion. Bala had targeted the Chief Minister over the death of an underprivileged family who committed suicide inside the district collector’s office in Tirunelveli. Bala has a huge social media following and is known for his depiction of political satire through cartoons. In the latest one, he had criticised the Chief Minister and the district administration which led to his arrest. He has been charged under Section 67 of the Information Technology Act (punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) and Section 501 of the Indian Penal Code (Printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory).
The cartoon shows a child burning to death with the Chief Minister, Police Commissioner and the Collector trying to hide their modesty with cash bundles. Bala had portrayed the case of Esakimuthu, a labourer who had set himself ablaze along with his family in broad daylight to protest against the money lenders who were harassing them continuously with the police and the district administration failing to take any action. Bala with the sketch had tried to point out the government’s inefficiency in handling the case which led to the death of a whole family.
As per reports, Bala had posted the cartoon on his Facebook account on October 24. The cartoon was thereafter shared by over 38,000 people across social media. The district collector noticed the viral cartoon and reported it to the Chief Secretary and the DGP of Tamil Nadu following which an arrest warrant was issued against cartoonist G Bala. He was then arrested on Sunday based on a complaint by Tirunelveli collector Sandeep Nanduri, who demanded action against the ‘derogatory’ attempt to defame the significant political figures.
Soon after Bala arrest his followers started a campaign on micro-blogging site Twitter with the hashtag #standwithcartoonistBala to protest against his arrest.