Holding that freedom of expression is an essential component of democracty, CPI(M) stalwart VS Achuthanandan expressed serious concern over the intolerance shown by certain political quarters towards cartoons and caricatures in recent times.
Referring to the row over Sahankar's and RK Laxman's cartoons reproduced in textbooks, he said attacking cartoons and cartoonists did not augur well for a healthy democracy.
He was delivering the inaugural address at a discussion on "Lakshman rekha for cartoons?", organised by Kerala Cartoon Academy and the Press Club here last evening.
"I am a subject of large number of cartoons. I always enjoy them and try to understand the message sought to be conveyed through them. In a democracy, tolerance and readiness to face criticism are vitally important", he said.
The CPI(M) leader said it was quite unfortunate that works produced decades back by eminent cartoonists like Shankar and Laxman are being targetted now by certain quarters.
He also came down heavily on West Bengal chief minister Mamata Bannerjee for taking action against a college professor for sending an online caricature.
On the occasion, Congress MLA VT Balaram drew a cartoon of Achuthanandan, for which the octogenarian leader posed and enjoyed, despite it alluding to inner commotions in CPI(M) in Kerala.
Eminent cartoonist Toms and Kerala Cartoon Academy chairman Prasannan Anikkad were among those who spoke.