iconimg Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Punya Priya Mitra, Hindustan Times
Indore, September 28, 2011
A cartoonist with a local Hindi eveninger was arrested by the Indore police on Tuesday night on charges of fanning communal sentiment after members of the local Muslim community objected to an offensive cartoon of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. Harish Yadav, 35, alias Mussveer, a cartoonist with Prabhatkiran was released on bail on Wednesday afternoon by a local court.

The cartoon, published on September 20, is perceived to be a comment on the controversy surrounding Modi’s refusal to wear a cap offered by a Muslim cleric during his three-day Sadbhavna fast.

Local Muslims took umbrage to the fact that the cap had stars and a crescent on it, and said it was an insult to Islam and approached the Malharganj police with a complaint. Yadav was arrested after one of them lodged an FIR.

Malharganj police station in-charge inspector Suresh Sejwal said they arrested Yadav for a deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings.

Newspaper owner Prabhat Sojatiya, however, told HT there was nothing objectionable about the cartoon and he did not regret publishing it.

He said the cartoon had been well appreciated by readers and the entire move had been orchestrated by some members of the BJP minority cell to crush freedom of expression.

Yadav was released on a Rs. 10,000 bail.

His colleagues at Prabhatkiran said the incident had shaken him, and he had gone to an undisclosed destination fearing further reaction from people who may have taken offence to the cartoon.