The Hyderabad police have registered a case against Swathi Vadlamudi, a journalist working for an English daily, for a cartoon she created in response to high profile rape cases in India.
According to this report, after Vadlamudi posted the cartoon on her Facebook page, an official complaint was lodged against her on Monday by Hindu Sanghatan President and lawyer Kashimshetty Karuna Sagar. Hindu Sanghatan is a right-wing organisation that monitors social media posts to find out and target who is making “derogatory” comments or sharing posts against Hindus.
Its mission is clear. Sagar said here:
The intent of the Sanghatan is to find public posts, which ridicule and demean Hindus and take legal action against them.
There is a rise of pseudo-seculars and pseudo-liberals who are maligning Hindu religion in all protests. Hence we wanted to take legal action against those tainting Hindu religion.
Police registered a case against her under Section 295 (a) of the Indian Penal Code (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs).
The cartoon went viral in the social media with thousands of likes and hundreds of shares on various platforms like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.
But Sagar, above, took “serious exception” to it:
There is nothing wrong in expressing her anger at Kathua incident and in fact, we, too, share her feelings. But where is the need draw Hindu gods into the incident?
How does it bring justice to the rape victims? Assuming that a Hindu had committed the crime somewhere in Kathua, how is it justified to blame millions of devotees of Lord Rama?
He said he had lodged a complaint against her and also another woman – Durga Malathi from Kerala – who also made a similar comment involving Hindu gods in the social media.
Saidabad Inspector K Sattaiah said he had asked the complainant to produce the evidence against the accused.
We shall send notices to the accused and then, proceed with the cases legally.
Vadlamudi, above, said she had chosen the cartoon to express her views and it was her fundamental right to do so.
The cartoon has received thousands of likes and comments appreciating my expression. At the same time, it also received a lot of vulgar, cheap and abusive comments against me in different social media platforms. Now, somebody has filed a case against me. I am yet to get any notice.
The Hindu Mahasabha President claimed he had received threatening calls from some unknown persons after filing the complaint.
Telangana Union of Working Journalists President Allam Narayana and Secretary Kranthi Kiran condemned the registering of case and demanded that it be withdrawn immediately. They said:
It is nothing but infringing upon the freedom of expression of a journalist.
Today, the Women’s Web blog carried the cartoon below:
And it said:
Can we for once stop to think how absurd the situation in our country is right now?
While people are offended about the depiction of Ram and Sita in a cartoon, they’ve forgotten the real issues that should offend them right now.
Women’s safety is a human rights issue and even in this day and age, we need to shout about it from the rooftops for people to hear!
Hat tip: Gaurav Tyagi