Chennai’s Loyola College on Monday said it had removed posters and paintings that were part of an art exhibition held on its campus on Saturday and Sunday, after protests by the Bharatiya Janata Party and some Hindutva groups.

Members of Right-wing groups and the BJP had alleged on social media that the exhibits insulted Hindu gods and goddesses, as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, The News Minute reported. The event had been organised by the college’s student support services, which assists Dalit students and those from other vulnerable groups.

Angry social media users shared photographs of some of the exhibits. One portrayed Bharat Mata in the context of the #MeToo movement, while others critiqued the BJP-led government’s Rafale deal and Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan.

Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan demanded that the Tamil Nadu government take action against the college. The party’s Tamil Nadu chief Tamilisai Soundararajan also condemned the exhibition.

One of the paintings at Loyola College that offended right-wing groups. (Photo credit: Karthika Sivaswamy/Twitter)
One of the paintings at Loyola College that offended right-wing groups. (Photo credit: Karthika Sivaswamy/Twitter)

BJP leader H Raja claimed in a tweet that Tamil nationalists, Communists, Maoists and Christians had “come together” at Loyola College to conspire against Hinduism and “launch an attack on the nation”. He said that a complaint had been filed with the police about this.

Loyola College issued a statement on Monday expressing regret for hosting the event. “We are deeply pained, saddened and equally anguished that the venue to conduct a cultural event, Veethi Virudhu Vizha, held on 19th and 20th Jan 2019 has been misused,” it said.

It added: “Our illustrious and pluralistic campus was used for derogative [sic] exhibits against a particular religious group, social institution, political party and the country’s leadership.” the statement said.