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BJP condoles Husain's death, Bajrang Dal opposes burial in India

Friday June 10, 2011 08:38:41 AM, IANS

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New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday condoled the demise of famous artist Maqbool Fida Husain but said he "had got distanced from India and Indians", while Hindu rightwing outfit Bajrang Dal said the artist had insulted the community and it would oppose any move to bring his body back to the country.

Husain, who died in London Thursday, was forced to live in self-imposed exile due to death threats from Hindu radicals, including the Bajrang Dal. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), which had protested against some of Husain's paintings, also reacted stridently to news of his demise, saying that he had hurt religious sentiments.

The VHP compared Husain to slain Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. "One was doing jihad by the brush" and the other by gun, said VHP spokesperson Prakash Sharma.

BJP leader Ananth Kumar said Husain had contributed to Indian art. "We offer our condolences on his demise," he told reporters at the party's official briefing here.

BJP spokesman Tarun Vijay said Husain should have come back and "respected sentiments of the people".

"He (Husain) should have come back, respected the law and the people's sentiments and merged his breath and body with Indian soil. Alas, not only he got distanced from Indians but also from India," Vijay told IANS.

He said the party had not opposed his return to India but wanted that "he should have respected the sentiments of the Indian people".

"His caricature of 'Durga' and 'Bharat Mata' was obnoxious and unacceptable," he said.

Bajrang Dal, an affiliate of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), however, said that Husain spent time in exile as he had insulted the country's majority community.

"The portrayal of Hindu goddesses in nude is an unpardonable offence. No society will tolerate this," Bajrang Dal spokesman Vinod Bansal told IANS.

He said his organisation will oppose any move to bring Husain's body back to the country.

Bansal also took exception to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance leaders paying glowing tributes to Husain.

"While they termed the demise of a man who insulted a religion as a national loss, they allowed attacks on patriotic people protesting against corruption with lathis," he said.

The VHP said that Husain caused "insult by painting Hindu gods and goddesses in nude and it cannot be forgotten".

"Congress leaders have praised a man who insulted Hindu religion, while they struck against a saint (yoga guru Ramdev) who was raising voice against corruption," VHP spokesperson Sharma said.

"Husain by taking Qatari citizenship showed he did not love the land," Sharma added.




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Picture of the Day

A shattered photograph of the artist in a vandalised exhibition in New Delhi in August, 2008. The artist and his paintings have been a target of a Hindutva hate campaign. Some groups alleged that his work hurt religious sensitivities.

(Photo: V.V. Krishnan/ The Hindu)



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