New Delhi: The Assam government has issued a statement clarifying that a five-year-old painting which earlier led to an outrage for its offensive depiction of Lord Krishna is no longer exhibited in the State Art Gallery.
The clarification, issued Monday, came after a recent furore on social media over the painting by Akram Hussain.
Pls refer to info shared by concerned citizens regarding an objectionable painting of Lord Shri Krishna. This incident is of 2015. Accordingly, Latasil PS Case No. 127/15 was registered, accused Akram Hussain arrested on 30/5/2015 & painting seized. It is not on display now.
— Guwahati Police (@GuwahatiPol) August 17, 2020
The Guwahati Police clarified that the painting is from 2015 and Hussain, who hails from Assam’s Goalpara, was arrested for it. The painting was also subsequently seized and taken down from the State Art Gallery the same year.
Several verified Twitter handles belonging to News Nation anchor Deepak Chaurasia, journalist Madhu Kishwar and NewsX anchor Shehzad Poonawallah recently shared photographs of the painting, demanding action from the Assam government.
The painting has been shared more than 5,000 times on Twitter in the past few days.
Chaurasia, who has since deleted his tweet, had also referenced to the recent Bengaluru violence while sharing a photograph of the painting: “I’m sure you all remember the Bengaluru riots, but we are the ones termed intolerant.”
Another verified handle, Arun Pudur, who’s Twitter bio says he is a media commentator, similarly wrote about the Bengaluru riots in his post about the painting.
Akram Hussain, an Assam based Muslim ’Artist’ depicts Lord Krishna with Bikini Girls & this piece has been displayed in Gawhati Art Gallery.#BangaloreRiots for a FB comment. Praveen who expressed his FOE was arrested for hurting sentiments
Will Akram be arrested for this? pic.twitter.com/3GYl8S9thE
— अरुन् पुदुर् (@arunpudur) August 17, 2020
New York-based International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) Inc. asked Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to take immediate action against Hussain and remove the painting from display.
— Iskcon,Inc. (@IskconInc) August 17, 2020
Sharma Monday responded to ISKCON’s post saying: “We have resolved this issue long back. Now no such picture is there in Art Gallery (sic).”
ISKCON Kolkata’s vice president and spokesperson, Radharamn Das, had also shared a post on the painting.
Here is another certificate of 2nd class citizenship of Hindus given by Assam based painter Akram Hussain & displayed at Guwahati art gallery@himantabiswa sir pls arrest this rascal. Don't wait for Hindu patience to break. It's already overflowing pic.twitter.com/O9QJhrgtp4
— Radharamn Das (@RadharamnDas) August 17, 2020
State formed committee in 2015 to probe issue
The outrage on social media came in the backdrop of the Bengaluru violence that occurred last week, triggered by an alleged inflammatory post on Prophet Muhammed made by a Congress MLA’s nephew. Three people were killed in the violence.
An FIR was lodged against Hussain in 2015 on the basis of a complaint by some Hindu organisations. The painting had then also led to a major outrage on social media. The state’s cultural directorate had also constituted an inquiry committee at the time to probe how it was allowed in the State Art Gallery.
With inputs from SM Hoaxslayer