The cartoon in question was posted in September 2020, after a special Lucknow court acquitted all 32 accused in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case.

Cartoonist Bala
news Controversy Saturday, June 19, 2021 - 16:35

A political cartoonist from Tamil Nadu, G Bala also known as ‘Cartoonist' Bala, received a notice from Twitter on Saturday, June 19, stating that the Union government has flagged a cartoon of his from 2020 in violation of Indian laws. The cartoon from September 2020 was related to the Lucknow Special Court’s judgment on the demolition of the Babri Masjid, aquiting all the accused persons. Bala posted a screenshot of Twitter’s email to him on his handle. 

“Hello @cartoonistbala, In the interest of transparency, we are writing to inform you that Twitter has received a request from India regarding your Twitter account, @cartoonistbala, that claims the following content violates law(s)of India. We have not taken any action on the reported content at this time as a result of this request. As Twitter strongly believes in defending and respecting the voice of our users, it is our policy to notify our users if we receive a legal request,” the screenshot of the email said. Bala also posted the cartoon for which he received the notice. 

The cartoon in question, posted on September 30, 2020, depicts senior BJP leaders including Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, armed with saffron flags and weapons and cheering, while standing on top of a judge’s gavel. The gavel is broken and a chariot with senior BJP leader LK Advani and others is seen emerging from it. The caption for the cartoon reads, “Yes, they not only destroyed Babri Masjid!” 

The cartoon was posted on the day the Lucknow special court delivered the verdict in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case. The court acquitted 32 members, including BJP veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, as well as Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh.

Earlier in 2017, Bala was arrested in Chennai for a cartoon criticising the Tamil Nadu government, including then Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, for not helping a family who were allegedly being harassed by loan sharks. The cartoon was uploaded a day after the family of four set themselves ablaze outside the Collector’s office in Tirunelveli, where the man Isaki Muthu died. His wife and two daughters also died a few days later due to the burn injuries.

Bala was charged under Indian Penal Code Sections 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory) and Section 67 (punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the Information and Technology (IT) Act.

Recently, cartoonist Manjul also received a notice from Twitter that the Union government sought action against him for a cartoon. The cartoon criticised the Union government’s vaccination policy.


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