The cartoonist said that he will continue to draw cartoons and highlight the failures of the government.

Did I commit murder Cartoonist Bala asks after getting bailImage: Cartoonist Bala/ Facebook.com
news Controversy Monday, November 06, 2017 - 12:41

Cartoonist Bala can heave a sigh of relief as the magistrate court in Tirunelveli granted bail to the cartoonist on Monday morning. This comes a day after he was arrested from his residence in Chennai by the Tirunelveli police following a complaint by the Tirunelveli District Collector Sandeep Nandhudri.

“He has been granted by divisional bench at the J1 Tirunelveli court. The case investigation is still going on, and depending on the sections if it is bailable or non-bailable, the court would have granted bail. Section 67 of IT act is a cognisable offence, and for that we could not file a defamation case. In case of cognisable offence, police should take action, it is a legal mandate to file an FIR,” Tirunelveli SP Arunsakthikumar told TNM.

Addressing the media, cartoonist Bala said that he will continue to draw cartoons to highlight the failures of the government. “I am also a journalist. I did not commit murder. I don't regret this cartoon. I will continue to highlight the inefficiency of the government through my cartoon. I will continue to draw cartoons. I will not stop. From Modi to EPS I will highlight the failures of the government,” Bala said.

A case had been filed against Bala under Section 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory) of the IPC, and it is to be read with section 67 (punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the IT act. 

In his cartoon, Bala portrayed the recent case where a family of four self-immolated outside the Tirunelveli Collectorate, after their complaints of harassment by usurers allegedly fell on deaf ears. The cartoon showed a naked Nellai Police Commissioner, Collector and Chief Minister trying to cover themselves up with wads of cash as a child burned in front of them.

The arrest of the cartoonist attracted flak from the activists as well as politicians on Sunday.

“I, strongly condemn the undemocratic arrest of @cartoonistbala by #TN police. Bala should be released immediately. #TNGovt #AbuseOfPower,” PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss tweeted on Sunday.

However, Bala has been accused in the past of misogyny in his illustrations and has agitated activists as well as politicians. Women activists took umbrage to a cartoon in 2014 that derogatorily featured DMK chief Karunanidhi and Congress Leader Khushboo.

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