Painting exhibition faces the wrath of VHP

Barely days after the controversy surrounding Kamal Haasan’s movie Vishwaroopam rocked the world of cinema, a painting exhibition at the Delhi Art Gallery in Hauz Khas village here on Monday was targeted by activists of Durga Vahini, women’s wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, who disrupted the private show for sometime.

Although the VHP claimed that it had stopped the show, the police said the exhibition was very much on and that security had been provided to prevent any untoward incident. Stating that the show was disrupted for sometime, the organisers confirmed that policemen had now been deployed there.

Trouble began when some members led by Durga Vahini’s Delhi unit convener Sanjana Chaudhary visited the art gallery around 1 p.m. and told the organisers to immediately call off the show, “The Naked and the Nude,” accusing them of having put on display nude and ‘obscene’ paintings of women.

“A day ahead of the launch of the exhibition on February 2, a half-page advertisement displaying some of the paintings was published on the front page of a leading English daily. The paintings were offensive showing women in poor light and such a representation was uncalled for, especially in the wake of the barbaric gang rape and murder of the physiotherapy student,” said VHP spokesperson Vinod Bansal.

Mr. Bansal said the outfit wrote to the organisers, copies of which were also dispatched to Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Tejendra Khanna, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, South Delhi Mayor Savita Gupta and Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar, asking them to ban the exhibition and arrest its organisers.

“Several calls were also made to the Police Control Room. On Saturday morning, we were told by the police that the show had been stopped. However, we later learnt that it was very much on. Then a six-member group comprising Ms. Chaudhary visited the exhibition on Monday to ascertain whether the paintings on display were indeed objectionable. They found that around 250 nude paintings of women showed them as a mere commodity and depicted women as a sex object, which could not be allowed. Showing indecent pictures is a punishable offence under Section 292 and other provisions of the Indian Penal Code. Hence, we requested the authorities on behalf of Delhi women to ban the exhibition,” said Mr. Bansal, demanding action against the organisers.

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