Australian harassed in Bengaluru over tattoo

The city police detained the Australian and forced the man to apologise to the harassers for “hurting their religious sentiments”.

October 19, 2015 02:30 am | Updated November 16, 2021 03:53 pm IST - BENGALURU

A group of people harassed an Australian couple at a restaurant here on Saturday, even threatening to skin the young man’s leg, for sporting the tattoo of Hindu goddess Yellamma on his shin.

Their ordeal did not end there as the city police not only detained them but also forced the man to apologise to the group for ‘hurting their religious sentiments.’

The incident happened around 2 p.m. when Matthew Gordon (21) and his girl friend Emily Kassianou (20) from Melbourne were spotted by the group. “One of them came to me and confronted me about my tattoo. Soon, they surrounded us and threatened to skin my leg and remove the tattoo,” a shaken Gordon, a law student, told The Hindu on Sunday.

The group soon called in more people and over 25 men gathered outside the eatery, not allowing the couple to leave. “A policeman arrived and said this is India and one couldn’t sport such a tattoo on the leg,” Mr. Gordon recalled.

Mr. Gordon, the Australian who was confronted by a group of local people at a restaurant here on Saturday for sporting a goddess tattoo on his shin, his girl friend, Emily Kassianou (20), both from Melbourne and their local friend Abishek were taken to the Ashok Nagar police station.

The Australian couple were allegedly given a “dressing-down” and a “lesson on Hindu values” by the police personnel in front of the protesting group.

“Policemen forced Matthew to write an apology and we were made to wait for three hours till he did so,” said Ms. Kassianou.

“The policemen advised me on Hindu religion and insisted I give a written apology for not covering my goddess tattoo, even as the group just watched. I tried taking law points, but had to finally give in as my girlfriend was in tears as the cops wouldn’t let us go,” Mr. Gordon said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Sandeep Patil, termed the matter “trivial.” “Both parties have reached a compromise and there is nothing serious about it,” he said.

Watch: Exclusive video of Mr. Gordon being harassed.

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