Tamil Nadu cartoonist arrested for criticising government on farmer’s suicide


In a shocking development, police in Tamil Nadu have arrested a cartoonist after his cartoon questioned the state government for its inability to stop a farmer’s suicide.

Chennai-based cartoonist G Balakrishnan alias Bala was arrested by the district crime branch (DCB) of the Tirunelveli police on Sunday after he drew a cartoon a cartoon on the self-immolation of a family of four at the collectorate on 23 October.

The administration termed his creative work as an ‘obscene and inappropriate depiction of Tirunelveli district collector Sandeep Nanduri.’

In his cartoon, Bala had depicted a child on fire while ‘Nellai police commissioner,’ ‘Nellai collector’ and ‘CM’ standing nearby with their eyes closed and without wearing anything, except for each of them holding a bundle of notes in front of their private parts, reported Times of India.

While sharing the cartoon on social media, Bala wrote, “Aama… Intha Cartoon Aathirathin Uchathil Thaan Varanthien (Yes… I drew this cartoon at the height of my anger).”

The cartoon was shared more than 38,000 times and viewed by over one lakh users.

“I am not against criticism. But the cartoonist has got the facts wrong. He has depicted the honourable (Tamil Nadu) chief minister (Edappadi K Palaniswami) and two government officials (collector and police commissioner) in an obscene manner. The cartoon would make people assume that we were staying silent over the issue after accepting a bribe,” Nanduri told Times of India.

Nanduri confirmed that he had indeed asked the police to take appropriate action on the cartoon and the 36-year-old cartoonist.

Superintendent of police (SP) of Tirunelveli district PVe Arunsakthikumar said an FIR was registered by the DCB on 1 November.

“Cartoonist G Balakrishnan alias Bala of Kovur, Chennai, was booked under Section 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 67 (punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the Information Technology Act,” he said.