FIR against ‘The Week’ for picture of Shiva, Kali; Bibek Debroy quits as columnist

Debroy, who heads the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, ended his association with the publication as a columnist over the illustration tagged to his article "A tongue of fire" in the July 24 edition

Bibek Debroy
Economist Bibek Debroy

The UP police have lodged an FIR against The Week amid a row over an objectionable picture of Lord Shiva and Goddess Kali that led Hindu activists to burn copies of the magazine and economist Bibek Debroy end his association with it.

Kanpur’s Kotwali police registered the case against the editor and management of the magazine following a complaint on Thursday by former BJP state vice-president Prakash Sharma, who accused them of hurting religious feelings. Bajrang Dal workers burnt copies of the magazine at the city’s Bada Chauraha on Friday, seeking action against the editors of the magazine brought out in English by the Malayala Manorama group.

Bibek Debroy’s mail

Debroy, who heads the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, on Thursday ended his association with the publication as a columnist over the illustration tagged to his article “A tongue of fire” in the July 24 edition.

Advertisement



The magazine has apologised on its website and Twitter handle.

This is the second controversy in recent weeks over the depiction of the goddess. Last month, Canada-based filmmaker Leena Manimekalai shared a poster of her documentary that showed a woman dressed as Kali smoking a cigarette.

In the case of The Week, Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Pramod Kumar said a case under 295A of the Indian Penal Code has been registered in Kanpur. The section deals with deliberate malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings. The DCP said instructions have been issued to the investigation officer to probe the charges and take appropriate action.

BJP leader Prakash Sharma said the picture published by the magazine has outraged Hindu sentiments. The editor and others responsible for this objectionable act should be dealt with an iron hand, he told PTI.

Earlier, in his letter to The Week editor Philip Mathew, Debroy said he is ending his association with the magazine over the illustration that accompanied his column on Kali.
“The picture was deliberately chosen to titillate and provoke. At least, that’s the way I perceive it,” he said in the letter he also posted on Twitter.

Magazine apologises

The magazine has offered its sincere apologies for publishing the picture and replaced it with another on its website.

The illustration was taken from a photo agency which described it as an 1820 Kangra painting from Himachal Pradesh, it said. “We are genuinely sorry that it has hurt the sentiments of many of our readers and others,” it added.

It said there was an “unfortunate error of judgment on our part in reproducing the illustration”, adding that there was no mischievous or malevolent intent.

With agency inputs

CATCH US ON: