NEW DELHI, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- A political cartoonist was arrested and charged with sedition in India, sparking a debate over free speech in the country.
Aseem Trivedi was granted a bail of 5,000 rupees ($90) in a court appearance Monday, but the cartoonist said he will not pay for it and wants the charges against him dropped.
"I am against this law. I have pride in what I have done and will keep doing it. This is a fight for a second independence," Trivedi said as he was leaving the courtroom.
Editorial writers in national newspapers and free speech advocates have called for the end of sedition laws, which date back to England's colonial rule.
One of Trivedi's cartoons depicts the Indian parliament as a toilet bowl. Another replaces the three lions on the nation's emblem with wolves, their teeth bare and dripping blood. "Long live corruption" is inscribed beneath.
Government officials told the BBC the nation supports the freedom of expression but there exists a "fine line" between free speech and insulting the nation's institutions.
India's information and broadcasting minister, Ambika Soni, said the media should practice "self regulation."
"I don't think making cartoons is wrong ... . But (cartoonists) should not make national symbols as their subject," Soni said.
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