TIRUNELVELI:After being granted bail by the District Court on Monday, cartoonist Bala, who was arrested by the Tirunelveli District Crime Branch (DCB) for uploading allegedly ‘demeaning’ cartoon on the Chief Minister, Nellai Collector and the Commissioner, proclaimed that he would continue to highlight the inefficiencies of the government through cartoons.
At around 10.30 am, G Balakrishnan alias Bala was produced before Judicial Magistrate (I) M Ramadhas, who granted him bail and posted a hearing for November 9.After fulfilling the formalities, Bala was interacting with his counsels outside the court when Inspector Anitha Arockia Mary of Serious Crime Squad wing of the DCB attempted to take Bala for re-interrogation. His counsels and other advocates showed stern opposition. An altercation resulted which eventually led to a melee and upon hearing the commotion outside, magistrate Ramadhas came out and directed the police to duly summon Bala if they wanted him for interrogation. Subsequently, lawyers escorted Bala into their chamber.
Speaking to the reporters later, Bala stated that his cartoon was an outcome of the extreme step taken by the Isakkimuthu-Subbulakshmi couple who immolated themselves and their two kids. “I have not committed any murder. I drew the cartoon to highlight the inefficiency of the government. The suicide of Isakkimuthu family brought shame to Tamil Nadu. As a father of two kids, the incident has affected me deeply,” he said.
Stating that he would face the case in court, Bala said, “It was not my intention to show the Collector in poor light. My job is to draw cartoons and I will continue to do so.” Later, Bala visited the house of deceased Isakkimuthu’s family at Kasitharmam village.
Meanwhile, Tirunelveli Collector Sandeep Nanduri wrote on his Facebook page that he would not tolerate false accusations and baseless allegations. All the four petitions submitted by Isakkimuthu were forwarded to the police and the petitioners were called for enquiry both on phone and by registered post. Now how can it be said that the Collector has not taken any action? Sandeep questioned.
“Everyone has the right to express and criticize. I myself enjoyed many of the cartoons. But there is a limit to creativity and freedom of expression. One can’t levy baseless allegations of corruption,” he further said.