Topless ad leads to protests in Kolkata

Parts of central Kolkata witnessed violent protests on Tuesday after an advertisement of US-based fashion brand American Apparel was published as an article in a Bengali newspaper.

The advertisement, depicting a topless Bangladeshi model, had led to protests the moment it became public even in the US, the UK and many other countries.

According to police sources, the agitation in Kolkata was led by a number of Muslim organisations, who wanted to protest against the publication of the advertisement, which they found “objectionable” and against the grain of their religion. “Although no specific organisation has come forward, people representing a number of hardliner Islamic organisations participated in the protests,” said a source.

While the incident led to ransacking of some public buses and other vehicles, protesters reportedly set ablaze a police vehicle too. A number of mediapersons who reached the spot to cover the incident were also injured after they were assaulted by the protesters, who dotted the northern end of AJC Bose Road, a main thoroughfare, with burning tyres.

While no statement has been issued by the publishers of the newspaper that was the target of the protests, sources within the Bangladesh diplomatic mission in Kolkata informed that the advertisement has caused severe protests in the neighbouring nation too, owing to it being “in bad taste”.

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