Kerala artist's house attacked over paintings on Kathua

Durga Malathi

An artist who painted in protest against the Kathua rape and murder with a controversial depiction of Hindu religious imagery is in the line of fire with her house coming under attack late on Thursday night.

Miscreants threw stones at the house of Durga Malathi, an artist and teacher, in Ottappalam, Palakkad district, damaging a jeep parked in the compound.

Malathi’s paintings on the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua in Jammu & Kashmir had set off outrage for the “offensive” manner in which Hindu religious symbols were depicted.

Her paintings shared on Facebook, had symbols, including the trident and 'tilak', merge into male genitalia. She shared the paintings with words expressing concern over people who “think, pray and talk politics” with their genitals taking control of the nation.

Responding to Thursday’s attack and the continuing online abuse and rape threats, Durga said her intention was to raise her voice against people who raped a child and her paintings were not against any religion.

She said the silence with which many people responded to the attacks suggested that they believed she “deserved” all the abuse. “I keep on reminding myself that I live in a democratic country. If I’m denied justice, I’ll have to say that this democracy is a big lie,” she posted on Facebook on Friday, along with images of the damaged vehicle.

The police have initiated a probe into the incident.

Durga’s posts and the subsequent attack by the Sangh Parivar supporters continue to trigger hate messages and abuses.

She said Sangh backers in other states have also joined the online hate campaign against her.

“I’m not deleting these abusive comments because there’s no shame for me in this. The comments only expose the culture of those who post them,” she said in a Facebook live video posted on April 16.

Durga has also received support on social media. Muhammed Muhsin, CPI MLA from Pattambi, is among those who have come out in her support.

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