The Indian government has joined the chorus of disapproval over a swimsuit by an Australian designer that portrayed a Hindu goddess on its front and back.
Noah Seelam/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Activists gathered in Hyderabad on Friday to protest against swimsuit featuring Hindu Goddess Lakshmi.
Describing the swimsuit as “carrying Indian religious images inappropriately,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs Wednesday released a statement saying it “has conveyed its deep concern to the Australian High Commission in New Delhi, asking that all concerned be apprised of the Indian religious sensitivities in the matter.”
The statement added that the Indian consulate in Sydney also raised the issue with the swimsuit’s designer, Lisa Burke.
This comes after Hindu nationalists in several Indian cities took to the streets in protest against the swimsuit, which features a picture of the goddess Lakshmi, demanding the Indian government to take a firm stand.
Protesters gathered in New Delhi Monday waved printouts of the incriminating bathing suit and raised banners calling for the government to take legal action against those who offend Hindu deities.
Ms. Burke, who presented the swimsuit as part of her latest Lisa Blue collection at Australian Fashion Week last week, has since made it clear that the Lakshmi suit would never reach retailers. This was noted in the foreign ministry’s statement.
This minor diplomatic setback comes against a backdrop of several uncomfortable episodes of alleged racism against Indian students living “Down Under” that in recent years have tarnished Australia’s reputation in the subcontinent.
It is also likely to be the elephant in the room during trade talks that were set to kick off Thursday. A spokesman for Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told Dow Jones Newswires that the swimsuit snag would not affect the talks.
A spokesperson for the Australian High Commission in New Delhi wasn’t immediately available for comment. Earlier Wednesday he declined to comment on what impact the swimsuit episode could have on relations with India.
Fuente: India Real Time