A hoarding of a condom company sending out a ‘Play safe’ message ahead of Navratri festivities in Gujarat, with a photo of actress Sunny Leone, has stirred up protests from various saffron groups, including the Bhartiya Gau Raksha Samithi in Surat. The tag line in Gujarati, accompanying Leone’s photo says, “Aa Navratrie Ramo Parantu Prem thi.” (This Navratri, play, but with love) Commissioner of Police has ordered the hoardings to be removed.
The hoardings were fixed in four different locations like Udhna, Athwalines, Varachha and Majuragate area in Surat on Monday. The hoarding and the message, protesters said, had hurt feelings of the community that believes in the sanctity of the Navratri festivities. Protesting groups came out on the roads and protested at Udhna area in Surat. Bhartiya Gauraksha Manch president Dharmesh Gami lodged a police complaint against the hoardings. Later, all hoardings were brought down from all the locations in Surat city, by the orders of Surat police commissioner Satish Sharma.
Talking to The Indian Express, Bhartiya Gauraksha Manch president Dharmesh Gami said, “The hoardings of condom company with the message having double meaning had photo of Sunny Leone. It has hurt our religious sentiments. Navratri is our religious festival and it is the Gujarati tradition of playing the garba. We will make representations to municipal commissioner, against the agency who had got license of putting hoardings at different places and take legal actions against them.”
Surat Commissioner of Police Satish Sharma said, “We have brought such hoardings down, as the advertisement was of condoms and it should not be linked up with the religious festivals and even photo of Sunny Leone was semi-nude. We have received complaints from the public and we brought down the hoardings.”