Cartoonist Bala G granted bail; will continue to highlight govt's failure

This comes a day after he was arrested from his residence in Chennai by the Tirunelveli police following a complaint by the Tirunelveli District Collector Sandeep Nandhudri. Four members of a family set themselves on fire outside the Tirunelveli Collectorate after their complaints of harassment were not listened to.

On October 24, Bala drew a cartoon showing the Tirunelveli District Collector, City Commissioner of Police and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami watching the immolation of a child with bundles of money covering their private parts of their naked bodies.

Right after Bala's arrest, Chennai Press Club had announced a demonstration in the state capital on Monday.

"It is an attack on the artistic freedom of a cartoonist who has brought out stark reality of the situation. I will continue, won't stop", said the 36-year-old cartoonist after being released from jail.

"I did not commit a murder, no regrets".

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In his cartoon, Bala had depicted the image of a burning child on the ground with three caricatures in their loin cloth, named as Tirunelveli District Collector, Chief Minister and Tamil Nadu Police watching it. He will continue to highlight inefficiency of government through his cartoon.

Police said that Bala was booked under sections 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory) of the IPC and Section 67 (punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the IT Act.

The incident drew widespread condemnation from the political parties and civil society groups over usury.

Family head Muthu resorted to the extreme step as the money-lender was harassing him demanding more money despite him having returned Rs 2.34 lakh, including interest, for a loan of Rs 1.40 lakh, his brother had alleged. After the incident, Palaniswami said the state had in 2003 enacted a legislation against the charging of exorbitant interest rates by money-lenders.

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