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Bastar journo faces sedition charge for posting FB cartoon against govt, judiciary

Kamal Shukla, who writes for several local and national news portals, is known for his stand against fake encounters in the region.

india Updated: Apr 30, 2018 22:06 IST
Ritesh Mishra and S Kareemuddin
Ritesh Mishra and S Kareemuddin
Hindustan Times, Raipur
Bastar journalist Kamal Shukla had allegedly posted the controversial cartoon lampooning India’s government and judiciary on Facebook. (AFP File)

A Bastar-based journalist involved in tribal rights activism was booked under the sedition law on Sunday for allegedly posting a cartoon lampooning the country’s judiciary and government on Facebook.

A case against Kamal Shukla has been registered at the Katwali police station in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker district. “We booked Shukla under Section 124-A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code on the basis of a complaint filed by a Rajasthan resident. The case was handed to us by the cyber cell in Raipur. An investigation is on, and appropriate action will be taken soon,” Kanker superintendent of police KL Dhruv told Hindustan Times.

Shukla, who is the editor of the Bhumkaal Samachar, is known for his stand against fake encounters in the region. He also writes for several local and national news portals, and heads an organisation – the Patrakar Suraksha Kanoon Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti – which seeks a law to protect journalists in Bastar region.

Dhruv confirmed that the case pertained to a “derogatory cartoon” against the Indian judiciary and government on the social networking site.

Although Shukla could not be reached for comment, a post uploaded on his Facebook page after the registration of the case stated that the cartoon pertained to the controversial death of CBI judge BH Loya. The journalist also claimed that he was targeted by right-wing activists in an attempt to prevent him from “exposing” the government ahead of the Chhattisgarh assembly elections. “I will continue writing (to protect) our democracy,” he added.

Over 10 journalists were booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including sedition, in Bastar over the last few years.

Judge Loya was presiding over the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case when he died under allegedly mysterious circumstances at Nagpur in December 2014. The accused in the case included BJP president Amit Shah.

First Published: Apr 30, 2018 13:55 IST