A Mangalore-based right wing organisation has written to the National Gallery of Modern Arts (NGMA), Bangalore Chapter, to stop displaying works of the renowned artist M.F. Husain.

The Hindu Janajagruti Samiti claims - in a letter sent via email and fax - that Mr. Husain works “are known to hurt religious sentiments” as they depict Hindu deities in a “vulgar fashion”. However, the two paintings currently on display, titled “Mother and Son”, are non-controversial as both paintings are in tribute to Mother Teresa.

In a strongly-worded letter, dated December 19, the organising secretary of the right-wing organisation says that the paintings may even lead to religious disharmony, and has demanded that the Gallery stop the display immediately.

Responding to this letter, the NGMA has brought these facts to the notice of the jurisdictional High Grounds police station on Saturday. The Bangalore police have said that investigations are being conducted to trace the e-mail and the letter. Elaborate security is already in place at the Centre, the police said. When contacted, NGMA officials refused to comment on this issue.

The Samiti first sent an email to the Centre’s Director Rajeev Lochan, who works in New Delhi and asked him to remove Mr. Husain’s painting displayed in the Bangalore Centre on December 17th. The letter was faxed to the organising secretary of NGMA in Bangalore on December 19th. In the letter, the Samiti also points out that recently a private gallery in Bangalore had responded to a similar request and pulled out Mr. Husain’s works.

The NGMA has been functioning in Bangalore since February. Apart from showcasing the Bengal and Mughal schools of art, the collection includes exhibits of Tanjore paintings and also the contemporary art of the last three decades. The centre displays art of Raja Ravi Varma and several leading Bangalore-based artists such as S.G. Vasudev, Yusuf Arakkal and Ravikumar Kashi.

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