The well-known Loyola College here has issued an apology after a row erupted over some paintings at an expo in its campus which the BJP and other saffron outfits termed as desecration of Hindu symbols.
The Bharatiya Janata Party and some pro-Hindu organisations Monday strongly objected to the paintings which they said had portrayed the trishul, a symbol of Hinduism, and ‘Bharat Mata’, in an inappropriate manner.
They said the paintings at the two-day exhibition which concluded Sunday also depicted Prime Minister Narendra Modi in bad light.
Following the outrage, the college Monday issued the apology and said that offensive paintings, put up as part of a cultural event, were “immediately” removed.
While one of the exhibits featured the trishul in a painting related to violence against women, another suggested that Modi was a hegemonic and also likened him to a Hindu deity.
Following complaints by the BJP and Hindu outfits to the police against the paintings which they said also had a strong political undercurrent against the saffron party, the college said it respected all religions.
“We do not advocate or support anything that is tantamount to disturbing the peace and tranquility of the society,” the college, an autonomous Catholic minority institution, said in a statement Monday.
The BJP state unit questioned if it was okay to target the majority faith.
“Why is there no condemnatory statements from any of the leaders here… Is hurting Hindu sentiments acceptable to you?,” BJP Tamil Nadu unit president Tamilisai Soundararjan asked.
Had the paintings targeted some other groups, there would have been a hue and cry from leaders like Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M K Stalin and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) general secretary Vaiko, she said.
Hindu Makkal Katchi (HMK) State General Secretary Rama Ravikumar demanded action against those who made the paintings that also mocked Central government schemes like Swachh Bharat as well as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Following the protests, the college clarified that it cherished the pluralistic values and ethos of the country.
The institution, which will complete a century in about six years said it was deeply pained, saddened and anguished that its venue for a cultural event “Veethi Virudhu Vizha,” held on January 19 and 20 was ‘misused’.
The college said its “illustrious and pluralistic campus was used for derogative exhibits against a particular religious group, social institution, political party and the country’s leadership”.
A statement from the college’s Art and Literary Unit Coordinator, Kaleeswaran said that the offensive exhibits were removed immediately, the moment it was brought to their notice.
“We acknowledge our lapse and sincerely apologise for the insurmountable hurt this has caused,” he said.