Puri (India) — The US-based online shopping place came under the attack from Hindu activists at Puri, one of the most hallowed destinations in India, following the misuse of Hindu gods and goddesses. The website sold undergarments embossed with the images of famous Hindu deities like Jagannath, Krishna, Rama, Siva, Mahalaxmi among others. A number of priests alongside some Hindu brigades poured into streets of Puri expressing their displeasure at the online shop.
Even though that website has put the images and slogans of other religions on undergarments, there was not any reaction from people of other communities here at Puri as the place is largely inhabited by Hindus.
But the Puri police slapped a case against the website based on a First Information Report (FIR) of Priyadarshan Pattnaik, the president of Jagannath Sena, a Puri-based religious outfit. Police also admitted that the website was found with selling undergarments emblazoned with the pictures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses through its online marketplace. “We registered a case under sections 295 (A) and 153 (A) of Indian Penal Code for maliciously hurting and damaging the religious sentiments and promoting enmity between classes, respectively. Though the crime has taken place somewhere else, we were bound to register a case looking at its sensitivity and link with the presiding god (Jagannath) at Jagannath temple. Investigation is on,” said Asheet Kumar Panigarhi, the superintendent of police (Puri). “This is a difficult case. We are facing such a case for the first time. We will see what we can do,” Panigarhi said.
Earlier, the Jagannath temple’s chief administrator Suresh Mahapatra had pledged the temple priests to take stringent action against the website. Even the Orissa law minister Biswabhusan Harichandan slammed the website by sending a letter to the US embassy on behalf of the Orissa government. “Being a Hindu we should not tolerate such insult to our gods and goddesses. I have requested the US embassy to pursue the matter seriously,” the minister told to a private news channel.
“Before the recent fracas on ‘gods on inner wears’, we have seen resentment among Hindus around the world for display of Hindu deities on shoes, toilet commodes and liquor bottles by a number of designers, mostly from foreign countries. And all of them escaped easily by saying ‘sorry’ or expressing ignorance on India’s art and culture,” said Sarat Chandra Mohapatra, a research scholar. “Strict action is required to curb the recurrent menace,” Mohapatra added.
Bibudha Ranjan, a city-based author said that the only way to stop this is to patent all Hindu Gods and Goddesses. “I know that gods are not objects for sale, but there seems to be no other way out. It is better to patent Hindu Gods. Else, one can do whatever they want,” Bibudha Ranjan said.
“Each and every religion has to be respected. When the sense and sensibilities of people following one or the other religion are hurt then whosoever the person or personality or organization involved, comes under scanner and has to face the wrath of the masses,” said Abid Ali, a city-based student.
“People worldwide belong to one or the other religion. Religious sentiments are more valued than anything else today, in the world,” felt Vince Behera, a Christian.