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Protests in Bhopal over controversial exhibition depicting Muslims as terrorists

By Pervez Bari, TwoCircles.net

Bhopal: A controversial painting exhibition wherein Muslims have been depicted as terrorists under the patronage of the Bharatiya Janata Party ruled Madhya Pradesh Government is drawing brickbats and bouquets here. Police is on its toes to avert any untoward incident.

On Thursday Bharat Bhawan, the venue of the exhibition, was under siege by political parties and social groups protesting and supporting the controversial painting exhibition being held at ‘Rupankar’ from May 15. A large police force was deployed at the cultural centre to prevent any untoward incident.

On Thursday morning, a group of Congress workers arrived at Bharat Bhawan and held a demonstration on its campus demanding that the controversial exhibition be withdrawn. Later, a delegation of Congressmen submitted a memorandum to the State Governor Dr. Balram Jakhar demanding that the exhibition be withdrawn as it portrayed a particular community as terrorists.

A Congress release claimed that the Governor asked the DGP to immediately take action. Congress spokesperson PC Sharma in a statement said that holding the exhibition at Bharat Bhawan proved the Congress’ allegation that the centre was under the control of the RSS. He said that a case should be registered against Kailash Tiwari, the painter who had put up the exhibition.

On hearing the news of the Congress demonstration at Bharat Bhawan, Bajrang Dal and VHP workers also reached there. Sithambar Rajdev, a VHP worker present at the spot, said that the exhibition should be allowed to continue. “The exhibition should be put up all over the country,” he said. Kailash Tiwari, the painter who put up the exhibition also said that the exhibition would be taken to Delhi and Mumbai as the next step.

On Thursday evening, members of the National Secular Front held a demonstration at Bharat Bhawan demanding that the exhibition be withdrawn.

On Wednesday, the Front had submitted an application at the Shyamla Hills police station here terming the exhibition a threat to communal amity and demanding registration of a case against Kailash Tiwari.

A large body of police personnel was deployed at Bharat Bhawan to prevent any untoward incident. On Thursday evening, there were reports that those supporting and opposing the exhibition would have a showdown. However, this did not happen as neither side turned up.

Kailash Tiwari, a little known artist from the city found himself in the centre of a controversy after he put up a painting exhibition titled ‘ The Face of Terror’ at Bharat Bhawan. The paintings depict men in skull caps and sporting beards as terrorists indulging in anti-national activities. This has been found objectionable by Muslims. ([email protected])