Several community organisations here have called on the Indian cricket team to boycott the tour of South Africa,starting next month in the wake of the Ganesha cartoon controversy,involving cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro.
At a public meeting in Lenasia,the sprawling Indian township south of here,hosted by the Tamil Federation of Gauteng (TFG),Hindu,Muslim and Christian religious and community leaders jointly agreed to take several steps to show their protest against the cartoon that appeared in the weekly Sunday Times recently.
The cartoon depicts Hindu deity Ganesha as the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) holding a cricket bat in one hand and wads of money in another,with Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Haroon Lorgat lying on an altar at his feet about to be sacrificed by his bosses. The TFG decided to call this public meeting to discuss Jonathan Shapiro and the Sunday Times stance of refusing to apologise for publishing the cartoon of Lord Ganesha, said TFG President Nadas Pillay.
Pillay said the representatives unanimously agreed to take several steps at the meeting.
The first is a boycott of the newspaper for its refusal to apologise for what the meeting said was the demeaning and blasphemous manner and its reluctance to seek an apology from Jonathan Shapiro,the cartoonist who had insulted all who believe in Lord Ganesha internationally.
The second step is to approach the Indian High Commissioner to get the Indian government and the BCCI to cancel the tour of the Indian team to South Africa.
The meeting also agreed to solicit the support of all religious and cultural groups to protest against the use of religious icons in the marketing of business or commercial ventures.
A task team is to be set up to take these resolutions from the meeting forward. The cartoon has been described by political analysts as brilliantly capturing the impasse between CSA and BCCI which led to the South African board agreeing to sacrifice Lorgat to save part of the tour by India.
CSA had earlier agreed to remove Lorgat from any dealings with the BCCI during the tour and for matters at the ICC where BCCI is involved.
Lorgat was at loggerheads with BCCI while he was chief executive at the ICC,and BCCI allegedly cautioned CSA not to appoint him as CEO.