Oz concerned over citizen's tattoo row

Oz concerned over citizen's tattoo row

Australia on Monday said it was “concerned” over reports that its citizen was threatened and later detained by the police in Bengaluru for sporting a tattoo of a goddess on his shin.

At the same time, the Australian High Commission advised its citizens to respect local customs and laws before setting foot abroad.

“We are concerned over reports that an Australian citizen was threatened and detained by the police because of a tattoo. The Australian Consulate General in Chennai is speaking with local authorities and has contacted the couple in question,” said a High Commission spokesperson. “We understand the offence was taken at an image of a deity tattooed on a person’s leg,” the spokesperson added.

On Saturday, a young couple from Melbourne, Mathew Gordon and his partner Emily Kassianou, went for lunch to Konark restaurant here around 2 pm with local friend Abhishek. 

R V Ramesh Yadav, a local BJP member, noticed that Gordon had Goddess Yellamma’s tattoo on his upper shin and objected to it. Soon, a few people gathered and they reportedly harassed the couple.

The police then took Gordon, Emily and Abhishek to the Ashoknagar Police Station. Gordon said the police gave them a lecture on India, Hinduism and Hindu values and forced him to tender a written apology.

Yadav, however, junked Gordon’s claims. “We were concerned for his safety as a tattoo on his shin depicted the goddess. He used unparliamentary words with us and the police. He voluntarily tendered an apology and nobody forced him,” he said.

DCP (Central) Sandeep Patil said: “Nobody can force anybody to tender an apology. Safety of foreign nationals is a matter of utmost importance. We will take all measures to ensure their safety.”

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