The prestigious Loyola College in Chennai has come under attack from pro-Hindutva activists after it held an art exhibition that had “derogatory” paintings of Bharat Mata in the context of the MeToo movement and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On Monday, a BJP team lodged a complaint with the Chennai DGP against the institution for organising such an event.
Several BJP and RSS leaders have strongly condemned the event and demanded legal action against the 94-year-old missionary college.
Loyola College, in association with Alternative Media Centre, had conducted a two-day folk festival titled ‘Veethi Virudhu Vizha’ (Street Award Festival) on January 19-20. A painting exhibition was organised on the sidelines of the event, which was aimed at creating a record with the Acme Book of World Records for the most number of art forms performed under one roof.
The art exhibition included paintings on caste violence, sexual violence, atrocities on the downtrodden and also on how the voice of activists was being muzzled. However, the most controversial of the lot was a painting that depicted Bharat Mata being a victim of the MeToo movement.
Pro-Hindu activists have called the paintings “derogatory” and said that it was an attempt to malign the image of the PM, RSS and other Hindus.
BJP national secretary H Raja said that the event was organised by Naxals who force people to convert to Christianity and insult Hindus and their tradition.
Condemning the paintings, Tamil Nadu BJP president Tamilisai Soundarajan said, “My blood is boiling seeing these paintings. They have insulted our Bharat Mata. I demand an apology from the Loyola Institution or else BJP will stage a huge protest.”
Political analyst Sundar Raman said the college should not permit events that might hurt religious sentiments. “Loyola College has for decades been one of our finest educational Institutions. They should not permit anything that can hurt religious sentiments and should not allow their college to be used for political purposes. This is just wrong,” he tweeted
Following the storm, Loyola College issued an apology, saying the objectionable paintings were removed after the matter was brought to the notice of the management.
“We do not advocate or support anything that tantamounts to disturbing the peace and tranquillity of the society that we render our service to. We are deeply pained, saddened and equally anguished that the venue to conduct a cultural event, Veethi Virudhu Vizha, held on January 19 and 20 2019, has been misused,” the coordinator of Loyola College’s Art and Literary unit, Dr Kaleeswaran, said in a letter.