Karnad quits Goa panel over saffron attacks

In a letter addressed to Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, Karnad said: “I am deeply shocked to hear of the attacks by self-styled standard-bearers of Hindu culture on the works of Jose Pereira, a scholar and artist of eminence.  I am horrified that private vigilante groups should be permitted to take the law into their hands while the State stands mute and the police express inability to protect the exhibition of his work.”            

An exhibition of paintings by Pereira was forced to shutdown a fortnight ago after the Xavier Centre of Historical Research received threats from the right-wing fringe group Hindu Janajagruit Samiti which said it disapproved of  “a Christian” artist’s interpretation of Hindu deities.

Rather than offer the institute protection, the Goa police inspected the exhibition and advised the Xavier Centre to pull out some of the paintings.  Pereira who taught theology at Fordham University, New York, has 40 scholarly works to his credit.

The Goa government recently constituted the Golden Jubilee Development Council headed by R A Mashelkar to formulate a vision document for the state on the eve of the 50th anniversary of its liberation.

Karnad, who had been appointed a member of the high level committee said Kamat had been “kind enough” to invite him to serve on the panel, but “this was not the culture of Liberation” he had hoped to celebrate.

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