Close on the heels of a range of incidents like the ban on Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam and security issues faced by author Salman Rushdie that sparked questions about freedom of expression, Visakhapatnam’s first fashion show was cancelled Sunday following protests against the display of images of Hindu gods on the clothes made by fashion designer James Ferreira.
The ongoing Kingfisher Ultra Vizag Fashion Week was called off abruptly on its third and final day after the police registered a case against the organisers over the alleged indecent display of Lord Ganesha and Lord Krishna on clothes.
Right wing groups and women’s organisations took strong exception to the Mumbai-based Ferreira’s collection that had images of gods and slokas imprinted on them in places deemed objectionable by them.
The groups had lodged a complaint with the Three Town police on Friday, soon after models walked the ramp in dresses made by Ferreira on the inaugural night of the show.
The matter was then brought to the notice of minister for infrastructure and investments Ganta Srinivasa Rao, who asked the police to inquire into the issue.
After the preliminary probe, the police said that images of Hindu Gods had indeed been printed on the clothes and based on a complaint lodged by Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Garimella Radhakrishna, they registered a case against the organisers under section 295A of IPC (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs)
“People have been opposing the fashion show ever since it was announced but the police went ahead and gave permission to the organisers. We could have avoided such an insult to our gods if the police had refused permission in the first place,” Radhakrishna said.
Meanwhile, women’s organisations demanded the arrest of the organisers and action against the cops who gave permission for the show. Members of Progressive Organisation for Women (POW), All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), Pragati Sheela Mahila Sangham, All India Students Federation (AISF), Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) stated that they would continue to protest if the show was not cancelled in the city.