Even as cartoonist Aseem Trivedi was remanded in police custody on Sunday, lawyers alleged that the arrest was ridiculous and a curb on freedom of expression.
Trivedi was arrested on Saturday for displaying allegedly insulting caricatures of Parliament, Constitution and the national emblem at Anna Hazare's protest last December and for posting them on a social networking site.
The Kanpur-based cartoonist, charged with sedition, is in the custody of the BKC police till September 16.
"His cartoons depicted Parliament as a commode and showed the national emblem with wolves instead of lions. The cartoons were aimed at creating unrest," said C Bhosale, senior inspector, BKC police station.
Criminal lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani said: "If he has shown Parliament as a commode, he is depicting what it has been reduced to because of parliamentarians, and not what it is or ought to be. His arrest is absurd and a curb on freedom of expression."
After a lawyer, Amit Arvind Katarnavre, approached the police in January, they filed a complaint against Trivedi on January 30 under relevent sections of the Indian Penal Code, the National Emblem Act and the Information Technology Act.
"We had been trying to trace Trivedi, but to no avail. In August, the Bandra metropolitan court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Trivedi," said Bhosale.
Around 20 days ago, the BKC police dispatched teams to Lucknow and Kanpur to nab Trivedi. However, he was not found. The police, around a fortnight ago, learnt that he was in hiding in the Uttar Pradesh's Unnao district.
After ascertaining that he was living somewhere under the jurisdiction of the Ganga Ghat police station in Uttar Pradesh, the BKC police sought the help of its Uttar Pradesh counterparts, following which Trivedi was arrested and produced before a court there.
"Since Trivedi was told that there was a non-bailable warrant issued against him in Mumbai, he surrendered before the BKC police on Saturday. We have availed his custody till September 16," said Bhosale.
Meanwhile, Preeti Sharma Menon, an IAC volunteer alleged that she and other IAC volunteers wished to meet Trivedi to plan his defence procedure, however, they were not allowed to do so.
"After the order at the holiday court on Sunday, when Aseem tried to address the media, the police roughed him up badly and pushed him into the police van. We are shocked at the way an artist and an activist is being treated by the police," she said.