Indian cricket captain MS Dhoni has been issued a non-bailable warrant by a court in Anantpur, Andhra Pradesh, for being portrayed as a Hindu deity on a magazine cover. Dhoni, who is currently in Australia preparing for an upcoming cricket series, has been asked to be present in the court on February 25, reported the International Business Times.
Dhoni was shown as Lord Vishnu on the cover of Business Today in April 2013, holding products that he endorsed. Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Shyam Sunder filed the petition against Dhoni and the magazine in the district court, claiming that the portrayal hurt Hindu sentiments, reported Hindustan Times. Dhoni’s manager Arun Pandey said, “I am very surprised that warrants have been issued. We have referred the matter to our legal [team]. They are taking due action to have the warrants cancelled.”
The Karnataka High Court, acting on a petition filed by activist Jayakumar Hiremath, had said last year, “A celebrity and a cricketer like Dhoni should know the consequences of hurting religious sentiments of people. He should have known the consequences of doing such ads. These celebrities are only signing ads without any responsibility. Their aim is to earn easy money without considering the problems it may create.”
Here is the controversial magazine cover: