A big controversy erupted Monday over some paintings at an expo in the Loyola College, a Catholic minority institution which showed Hindu symbols, the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in negative light.
The college issued an apology and said that the ‘offensive’ paintings, put up as part of a cultural event, were immediately removed.
In a statement, the college said: “We acknowledge our lapse and sincerely apologise for the insurmountable hurt this has caused.”
“We are deeply pained, saddened and equally anguished that the venue to conduct a cultural event Veethi Virundhu Vizha, held on 19th and 20th Jan 2019, has been misused for exhibits against a particular religious group, social institution, political party and the country’s leadership,” Loyola College said.
According to the college, the exhibits were removed the moment these were brought to its notice.
The statement was issued by Loyola College Art and Literary Unit Coordinator Dr Kaleeswaran.
Among the paintings that started the controversy, was one depicting Bharat Mata as a victim of the MeToo movement. Another, titled ‘Rafale Deal’, shows the petals of the lotus – BJP’s symbol – as rats, Firstpost reported.
The event was conducted by the college jointly with Alternative Media Centre, which works to “preserve folk art”. The Centre’s founder Kaleeswaran is also the coordinator of the Art and Literary Unit of the Loyola Student Support Service.
The BJP has filed a complaint with the police against Loyola College.
After the images had gone viral, BJP national secretary H. Raja called for action against the college for offending Hindu sentiments. Raja tweeted, “VCK, Communist, Naxalite and Christian conversion groups have joined together in a planned way to attack Hindu religion and our nation at Chennai Loyola College. A complaint has been filed…”. Raja had also called for a demonstration in front of the DGP’s office in Chennai on Monday. In a tweet, Raja said, “Loyola College has defamed Bharat Mata, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Hindu religion. I appeal to all ‘deshbhakts’ and Hindu support groups to assemble at DGP’s office at 11 30 to demand action.”
BJP Tamil Nadu unit president Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan also condemned the exhibition at Loyola College, saying it “insulted Hindu sentiments, RSS, Modi and Bharat Mata”. Interacting with mediapersons, Soundarajan said, “the #MeToo artwork on Bharat Mata at Loyola College has made me furious. We demand an explanation from the college, else there will be a protest from BJP’s side”.
Minister of State for Finance and Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan demanded action against Loyola College. Speaking to reporters, Radhakrishnan claimed that the AIADMK government in the state not acting against Loyola College over the art exhibition would show that it supported such actions.
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