Aga Khan Museum apologises for hurting religious sentiments

Indian Mission urged Canada to remove ‘provocative material’ from the poster of a film

July 06, 2022 06:34 pm | Updated July 07, 2022 10:55 am IST - New Delhi

Film-maker Leena Manimekalai.

Film-maker Leena Manimekalai. | Photo Credit: RAGHUNATHAN SR

A day after the Indian High Commission in Canada urged the Canadian authorities to withdraw the provocative material related to Hindu gods from the poster of a film showcased at the Aga Khan Museum, the museum authorities in Toronto have now come forward to apologise for hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus. The microblogging site Twitter has also removed the poster of the film shared by its maker Leena Manimekalai in which the goddess was seen smoking and holding the pride flag of LGBTQ community.

In its letter of apology, the Aga Khan Museum wrote that the Toronto Metropolitan University has brought together works from students of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Under the same, each student was exploring their individual sense of belonging as part of Canadian multiculturalism for the project named ‘Under the Tent’. These works were hosted once at the Aga Khan Museum on July 2, in the context of the museum’s mission to foster intercultural understanding and dialogue through the arts.

“Respect for diverse religious expressions and faith communities forms an integral part of that mission. The presentation is no longer being shown at the museum. The museum deeply regrets that one of the 18 short videos from ‘Under the Tent’ and its accompanying social media post have inadvertently caused offence to members of the Hindu and other faith communities,” the letter further said.

Film-maker’s poser

Reacting to Twitter removing her film’s poster, Ms. Manimekalai questioned if Twitter would also withhold the tweets of the hate mongers as well.

“This is hilarious. Will Twitter withhold the tweets of the 200000 hate mongers? These lowlife trolls tweeted and spread the very same poster that they find objectionable. Kaali cannot be lynched. Kaali cannot be raped. Kaali cannot be destroyed. She is the goddess of death,” she wrote on the microblogging site.

The microblogging site wrote that the tweet from Ms. Manimekalai has been withheld in India in response to a legal demand.

FIR in Guwahati

Meanwhile, two organisations in Assam have lodged a first information report (FIR) demanding punitive action against Ms. Manimekalai for “hurting religious sentiments” with the poster of her documentary Kaali.

The Hindu Suraksha Manch and the United Trust of Assam lodged the FIR together at the Dispur police station in Guwahati on Tuesday.

The complainants said the poster depicts Goddess Kaali in a manner “unacceptable by any Hindu” and that it was a “deliberate distortion of the Hindu religion and culture with malicious intent to insult Hindu religious feelings”.

(With inputs from Assam)

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