The controversy over a reputed Kerala monthly spoofing the picture of last supper has taken a new turn when communist leader M A Baby joined to criticize Church leaders’ protest against the publication.
Baby, a CPM politburo member, said that people with religious sectarian thoughts were enemies of art and they were trying to attack freedom of expression and art. Baby said in his Facebook post that the protests had nothing to do with art, belief or religion.
His post comes in the wake of protest from Christian groups and a Hindu group called Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) in Kerala against the Malayala Manorama, the state’s powerful media group, which also publishes the controversial monthly.
The Malayalam literary magazine, Bhashaposhini, already apologized and reportedly withdraw copies of its December issue from newsstands after protest began to increase against publishing the spoof in one of its inside pages.
The spoof of the Last Supper painting depicted with Mata Hari and nuns around her instead of Apostles and Jesus.
“Efforts were being made to depict that religious sentiments were hurt because of artistic expression,” Baby said. He alleged that Hindutva forces were growing in strength and their communalist politics were inspiring a section of Catholic priests.
Despite his criticism against the Catholic priests, Baby showered praises on Pope Francis. He pointed out that Pope Francis had a different and modern outlook.
On Dec 17, Kerala-based Syro-Malabar Catholic Church’s head, Cardinal George Alancherryy said that the illustration that appeared in the latest issue of Bhashaposhini hurt the believers’ sentiments.
“It should not have happened,’’ Cardinal Alanchery said in a statement. He said that the illustration had insulted the last supper of Christ and lakhs of Catholic nuns. “It has come to notice that in many places the believers have come out in protest against the illustration,’’ he said.
“At the same time, the apology from the (magazine) management is seen as a creative step. However, the anguish and wound created by the stated picture would not fade away soon.’’ The cardinal had said that the incident should be a lesson for all to do responsible journalism.
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