JD-U president Sharad Yadav on Wednesday disagreed with BJP leader LK Advani's remarks on cartoonist Aseem Trivedi's arrest drawing parallels with the Emergency, saying the comparison was a "hyperbole".
"This is a hyperbole. The Freedom of Expression was put to real threat during the emergency when the media was muzzled and 1.5 lakh persons including politicians were jailed. One has to really wonder what is it that was not banned during the emergency. To compare it with any other thing, in my opinion, is injustice," he told reporters.
Yadav at the same time said the Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra acted "foolish" in the episode as seen in the decision to arrest the cartoonist on treason charges, which was not required because there is a law to deal with it.
"How can you say this was treason? Trivedi is young and did something out of enthusiasm," he said.
"To urinate in open is prohibited at many places. But will you jail all those who come from villages and are found doing it," he asked. The JD-U President said he had taken up Trivedi's matter with Maharashtra home minister RR Patil.
Yadav, who is also the convener of the NDA, said though he is an opponent of the Emergency and had gone to jail then, but "the fact is also that Indira Gandhi as the Prime Minister of the country showed exemplary courage in tackling the Punjab problem and during the Bangladesh War."
"I do not consider it proper to compare Emergency with everything every now and then," Yadav said.
The JD0U president was replying to media queries on the post by Advani in his blog.
Advani posted in his blog, "I have always regarded the Emergency period 1975-77 as the worst in so far as suppression of civil liberties and freedom of expression were concerned. But seeing what has happened to political cartoonist and anti-corruption crusader Aseem Trivedi, I have started wondering is today's political set up worse even than the Emergency?"