Australian authorities express 'concerns' in Goddess tattoo case
The Australian High Commission has shown "concern" at the media reports of the Australian citizen "being threatened with violence and detained by police because of a tattoo." The citizen- Matthew Gordon had telephoned the authorities at the commission. The High Commission's public section in New Delhi said in a press statement that the "citizens travelling abroad were advised to research and respect local customs."
An Australian national was apparently harassed in Bengaluru for sporting the tattoo of Goddess Yellamma on his leg. Some BJP activists and their leader threatened to 'skin the young man's leg'. He was asked to cover up or face consequences. When he complained to the police he was asked to apologise to the harassers for "hurting their religious sentiments" and detained for 3 hours.
Australian tourist Matthew Gordon (and his girlfriend) left the city of Bengaluru where they had originally planned to stay till February after being forcefully made to give a written apology for inking Goddess Yellama's tattoo to his shin.
Ramesh Yadav who took objection to an Australian sporting a tattoo said that the latter had not been harassed by him or the party members. He said it was disrespectful to sport the tattoo of a goddess on one's shin and had only asked the youth to cover it up. He also said that no one had forced him to write an apology.
BJP even refused to accept that Yadav was a BJP party member. But it was later found out that Ramesh Yadav was indeed a BJP worker who had contested the BBMP election in 2010 and lost.
In the wake of the Bengaluru incident, tattoo artists are divided as to whether caution should be exercised when religious symbol's are to be inked. While most agreed that the incident was a "violation of personal choice", others said it was right to abstain from "hurting religious sentiments." Others claimed that Gordon was targetted because he was a foreigner.
The Police Department commanded an in-house probe into the tattoo incident involving the Australian. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Sandeep Patil said that the issue was being seriously considered and the ACP (Seshadripuram) would lead the investigation. He further said "The inquiry will look into the alleged misconduct on the part of police officers, who handled the case, including taking the apology letter."