NATIONAL

PM's intervention sought to stop `insult' to Hindu images

HYDERABAD, AUG. 21. The BJP floor leader in the State Assembly, G. Kishan Reddy, today sought the intervention of the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, and the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, for action against certain foreign companies manufacturing women's undergarments with imprints of Hindu gods and goddesses on them.

Displaying a sample of such lingerie with a `Made in Italy' label, at a press conference here on Saturday, he said that some foreign companies were ``insulting'' Hindu deities in a systematic manner as part of a ``larger international conspiracy.'' Mr. Reddy, who recently attended the World Youth Council Against Terrorism (WYCAT) at Sofia, Bulgaria, said that he was stunned to see undergarments carrying images of Lord Sri Rama and Goddess Lakshmi at the Vienna and London airports.

`Deliberate attempt'

He described it as a ``deliberate'' attempt to hurt the sentiments of 100 crore Indians and belittle Hindu deities. He had called on the ambassadors of Italy, Bulgaria and England in Delhi yesterday and lodged his protest with them. He also demanded the withdrawal of such garments and an apology from the manufacturers.

In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, the BJP leader urged him to instruct the Indian diplomats to lodge a strong protest with the foreign governments and order the immediate withdrawal of the products.

Mr. Reddy would be writing similar letters to the External Affairs Minister, Natwar Singh, Ms. Gandhi, the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and the former Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani.