A court in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district has acquitted Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in a defamation case on Wednesday (December 11) over a cartoon about a protest march organised by members of the Maratha community in 2016.
The cartoon was carried by Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana, of which Thackeray, president of the party, was editor until he was sworn in as Maharashtra Chief Minister last month.
Advocate Datta Suryawanshi, the complainant, had claimed that he had participated in a ‘MukMorcha’ (silent rally) for various demands of the Maratha community (including reservations) at Yavatmalin September 2016. Similar marches were conducted across the state.
The same day a three-panel cartoon was published in Saamana, which showed, among other things, a man kissing a woman, and was captioned “Muka Morcha”. The cartoon appeared to have played on the similarity between Marathi words ‘Muk’ (silent) and ‘Muka’ (kiss).
Shiv Sena was part of the BJP-led ruling coalition in the state in 2016.
Suryawanshi had also included the cartoonist, executive editor, printer and publisher as respondents. On Wednesday, a magistrate’s court at Pusad in Yavatmal district acquitted all the accused.
A detailed copy of the ruling was unavailable.