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Indian cartoonist questioned by police

Police in India have begun questioning a cartoonist arrested on charges of sedition. The move has attracted media attention and raised questions among activists about freedom of expression in India.

The questioning of a freelance artist by Indian police in Mumbai drew widespread criticism by the country's media on Monday. Police are holding cartoonist, Aseem Trivedi, on charges of sedition over a series of cartoons that criticized India's constitution and alleged corruption in the Indian government.

Trivedi has not broken any laws, according to the chairman of the Press Council of India and a former Supreme Court judge, Markandey Katju.

"My opinion is that the cartoonist did nothing illegal," Katju told the Hindu Newspaper. "In a democracy many things are said, some truthful and others false."

"A wrongful arrest is a serious crime under the Indian penal code, and it is those who arrested him who should be arrested," said Katju.

Indian police detained Trivedi over the weekend. News agencies differed on the circumstances of the arrest. The artist turned himself in after a private complaint was filed about his cartoons, according to Reuters news agency.

The police have said they intend to keep Trivedi in custody until September 16.

Late Sunday, Trivedi spoke to reporters outside of a courthouse in Mumbai, according to the new agency AFP.

"If telling the truth makes me a traitor then I am one," said Trivedi. "If I am booked under sedition for doing service to the nation then I will continue to do so."

Trivedi's arrest comes at a time of growing unrest in response to what many see as government interference with social media websites.

kms/pfd (AFP, dpa, AP)

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