Was forced to write apology letter at police station: Oz student

Was forced to write apology letter at police station: Oz student

Matthew Gordon, 21, a law student from Melbourne in Australia, who was reportedly harassed by a few people at Konark restaurant on Saturday afternoon over Goddess Yellamma’s tattoo on his shin, has regretted his decision to tender an apology letter to the Ashok Nagar police.

In his Facebook page, Gordon wrote, “My forced letter of apology that I had to write before I could leave the police station at Ashok Nagar. I should not have to apologise for what is on my skin and be put in a traumatising situation where it is apparently acceptable to be harassed, threatened and mobbed. Tolerance, understanding and equality is what we live by I respect India and Hinduism completely.

That’s why I spent 35 hours getting a massive Ganesha put on my back and 4 hours getting the Goddess of the lowest rung of Indian society (Yellamma) on the only bit of space I had left on my body.”

He further stated: “Because my spiritual journey is my decision, as are the markings on my body. I do not deserve to be victimised and have to physically defend myself and my girlfriend every day. She does not deserve sexual abuse both physical and verbal. We support equality for all, tolerance of everyone and especially for the women in this country. Please support us as we try to bring awareness to crimes of injustice.”

The police said that they are yet to ascertain if Gordon, his girl friend Emily Kassianou and their friend Abhishek were really harassed and if they voluntarily tendered an apology letter.

The police claimed that despite requests Gordon did not lodge any complaint. “We would have surely registered a case and taken up investigation. However, considering seriousness and sensitivity of the issue, the police decided to conduct a probe even though Gordon refused to lodge the complaint.”

R V Ramesh Yadav, a local BJP leader, who was present at the restaurant, came out with a contradicting story.

“I was at the hotel and spotted a tattoo of Goddess Yellamma on his shin. I thought that he would be risking his life if he moved without covering it and hence decided to speak to him,” he told Deccan Herald.

“I advised him to cover his legs by wearing a trouser. I told him that Navaratri festival is on and people might mistake that he is insulting Hindu Goddess, which would create problems for him. He used unparliamentary words and came out. Soon, a few cab drivers gathered and objected to this as well. They called up the police control room. The police rushed to the spot and the Australian used unparliamentary words even against the police,” Yadav claimed.

Yadav said that the trio voluntarily tendered an apology letter. “The incident inside and outside the restaurant has been recorded in CCTVs installed at the hotel. I did not to intend to disturb anybody. I am also concerned with the safety of foreigners and want to treat them as our brethren,” he said.

There was no response from Gordon when he was contacted on his mobile phone.

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