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Indian Cartoonist Harish Yadav aka Mussaveer Arrested

09/29/2011

Photo of Narendra Modi by Wikimedia/Robert Schiller/World Economic Forum

Indian cartoonist Harish Yadav, better known by his pen name Mussaveer, was arrested at his home in Malharganj on September 27, 2011, for insulting the religious beliefs of Muslims, and then released the following day on bail.  Mussaveer was arrested for a cartoon poking fun of Chief Minister Narendra Modi's refusal to wear a skull cap presented to him by a Muslim cleric.  Mussaveer was arrested under Section 295-A of the Indian Penal Code which prohibits the "deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs." 

The cartoon, which appeared in the September 20th edition of the evening paper Prabhat Kiran, "depicted a naked Narendra Modi with a skull cap held up by a stick covering his bottom," according to Hindustan Times.  Someone by the name of Javed filed a complaint on September 20.  No word yet on whether the cleric will press charges against Chief Minister Modi, pictured above.   

Probahat Kiran editor Prakash Purohit and newspaper owner Prabhat Sojatiya defended the cartoon.  But the paper did issue an apology. 

To read more about this troubling case of censorship in the world's largest democracy, click on Cartoonist Pays for Modi Cartoon by Punya Priya Mitra of the Hindustan Times, and, Cartoonist Jailed for Narendra Modi Caricature from IBN Live.  Carol Hills, producer with Public Radio International's The World, has her own take on this story and the other recent disturbing cartooning story from India.  Click on India Gets Serious about Cartoons to read and listen to Carol's report. 

Cartoon by Mussaveer, Prabhat Kiran