The arrest of a little known cartoonist, Aseem Trivedi, in Mumbai has sparked off a massive debate on the freedom of expression. Even the cartoonist, slapped with a sedition charge, claims his basic rights are being infringed. Initially, there was outrage over his arrest but those who have examined the cartoons closely say it is a crude disrespect and insult to our national symbols. Aseem, a Kanpur-based artist, has been accused of putting up banners mocking the Indian Constitution during a rally of anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare in Mumbai late last year and posting the same on his website. Trivedi was arrested on the basis of a complaint filed by a member of Republican Party of India, Amit Katarnayea.
In a debate moderated by TIMES NOW's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, panelists -- Sudhir Tailang, Cartoonist; Kamal Faruqui, Member, Muslim Personal Law Board; Sudhir Dhar, Cartoonist; Vikas Singh, Former Addl. Solicitor General; Mahesh Jethmalani, Senior Advocate and Leader, BJP; Mayank Gandhi, Member, IAC and Kiran Bedi, Social Activist -- discuss whether criticism of politicians can be put on the same level as the deliberate desecration of national symbols and if crude disrespect to national symbols is permissible under freedom of expression.