A fresh FIR has been filed against cartoonist Bala and two office bearers of the Chennai Press Club for allegedly putting out banners of Bala's controversial cartoon and obstructing traffic as per a report in the Times of India.
On November 5, the cartoonist was arrested from his residence in Chennai by the Tirunelveli police following a complaint by the Tirunelveli District Collector Sandeep Nandhudri. He was arrested on the day the banners were put up by other journalists protesting against his arrest.
Bala was granted bail a day later by a magistrate court in Tirunelveli.
The cartoon shows a naked Nellai Police Commissioner, Collector and Chief Minister trying to cover themselves up with wads of cash, as they close their eyes to a child's burning body.
‚ÄúSuch a digital banner portraying the police commissioner and chief minster naked and witnessing a child burning was placed in the Press Club. It was disturbing the public and prevented free movement of transport,‚ÄĚ the FIR says.
The cartoon was in reference to the recent tragedy, where four members of a family set themselves on fire outside the Tirunelveli Collectorate, after their complaints of harassment by usurers allegedly elicited no action.
Earlier, Tirunelveli SP Arunsakthikumar told TNM that the Collector had filed the complaint towards the end of October based on which an FIR was registered.
The complaint filed against Bala stated that the cartoon is 'derogatory' and ‚Äėdefamatory‚Äô.
"This highly demeaning cartoon shows the government officers (Collector and Commissioner of police) in poor light and also casts aspersion about their integrity. The cartoon also shows the Honourable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in a highly derogatory and belittling way. The cartoon is published without verification of facts and is highly humiliating. It is defamatory in nature and is meant to create hatred among the public, towards the officers and CM," states the FIR.
Bala, however, is no stranger to controversy. He has, in the past, been accused of misogyny in his illustrations and earned the ire of politicians and activists alike. His cartoon featuring DMK chief Karunanidhi and Congress leader Kushboo in 2014 had caused an uproar among women activists who termed the blatant sexism highly distasteful.