Artists targeted by saffron hardliners

Artists targeted by saffron hardliners

They want Husain painting withdrawn from Goa museum

Artist Subodh Kerkar’s Ganesh drawings were also targeted.Now, the band of saffron fanatics that has hounded the painter out of the country has decided the Goa government should get rid of the beautiful painting for no apparent reason except that it is a Husain.

The Goa government has so far ignored the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti’s demand that the Husain be withdrawn from the museum. The saffron outfit said in a letter to the museum director that it wanted the painting taken off because Husain was “anti-Hindu”.

Husain is not the only artist on the saffron group’s hate radar at the moment. Goan artist Subodh Kerkar whose exhibition of Ganesh drawings and installation opens in Calangute on Thursday has received hundreds of abusive and threatening calls after the right-wing newspaper Sanatan Prabhat ran a four-day campaign to shut down his exhibition.

Janajagruti Samiti and the Sanatan Sanstha have filed a series of police complaints against Kerkar saying his Ganesha drawings had hurt Hindu sentiments. The fundamentalist groups say Kerkar has overstepped the limits of freedom of expression by portraying Lord Ganesha “blasphemously”.

The Calangute police on Monday served a notice on the painter under Section 149. “We are looking into the matter because a certain religious community has felt hurt by the drawings,” SP North Goa, Bosco George, told Deccan Herald. He said the police had not, however, asked the artist to cancel the exhibition.

As an artist and a Hindu he has taken the liberty to interpret Ganesha in many different ‘avatars’. None of his drawings are obscene.

Even Bal Thackeray has drawn so many cartoons of Lord Ganesha. Why should anyone feel offended by his drawings? Kerkar asks.

The artist also said he would not give in to political intimidation. His exhibition would open as scheduled on Thursday, he said.

DH News Service


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