FIR Against ‘The Week’ for Nude Shiva Figure; Magazine Issues Apology

The police registered a case after BJP's Prakash Sharma demanded strict action against the magazine.

3 min read
Hindi Female

The Uttar Pradesh police lodged a First Information Report (FIR) against the magazine The Week on Thursday, 4 August, for allegedly publishing a nude illustration of Lord Shiva and hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus.

The publication later issued an an apology for the same.

Kanpur’s Kotwali police registered a case after former Bharatiya Janata Party state vice-president Prakash Sharma demanded strict action against the magazine for the “objectionable pictures” published in The Week's special issue of 24 July on page number 62-63.

"The editor and others responsible for this objectionable act should be dealt with an iron hand," Prakash Sharma told news agency PTI.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Pramod Kumar said that a case under Section 295A (Deliberate Malicious Acts Intended to Hurt Religious Feelings) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered in Kanpur.

The DCP said that an investigation into the matter is underway.

'Unfortunate Error of Judgment': The Week Issues Apology

In an apology issued after the case was registered, The Week called the contentious figure an "unfortunate error of judgement."

"We deeply regret that we published an inappropriate illustration of the Lord Shiva and the Goddess Kali in a scholarly article, titled 'A tongue of fire', written by the eminent writer Bibek Debroy in THE WEEK issue dated July 24, 2022. There was an unfortunate error of judgment on our part in reproducing this illustration, and we solemnly affirm that there was no mischievous or malevolent intent behind it."
The Week

The illustration was taken from the visual image company Getty Images, which describes it as a Kangra painting from Himachal Pradesh, circa 1820, the magazine noted.

"We are genuinely sorry that it has hurt the sentiments of many of our readers and others. We humbly offer our sincere apologies for publishing the illustration and have since removed it from our website. THE WEEK has always been committed to balanced and responsible journalism, eschewing sensationalism," the apology, signed by Editor-in-Charge VS Jayaschandran, stated.


Columnist Bibek Debroy Quits The Week

Meanwhile, Bibek Debroy, who heads the Economic Advisory Council to Prime Minister, ended his association with the magazine as a columnist over a picture of the goddess Kali published with his article in the 24 July edition.

In a letter to the The Week's editor Philip Mathew, Debroy said that he is ending his association with the magazine over the illustration that accompanied his column on Goddess Kali and said that the picture was “deliberately chosen to titillate and provoke.”

Posting the letter on Twitter, he said,

"This letter concerns the special column on 'Kali', The Week asked me to write. It was published in the 24th July, 2022 issue, under the title 'A tongue of fire'."

He said, "I can think of many better depictions of Kali. The picture was deliberately chosen to titillate and provoke. At least, that's the way I perceive it.”

"Therefore, since i no longer trust The Week and since I have no idea about what illustrations will be used in my regular columns, I would like to disassociate myself with The Week and no longer be a columnist," said Debroy.

On Friday, 5 August, Bajrang Dal activists burnt copies of the magazine in Kanpur’s Bada Chauraha and demanded action against the editors of the magazine.

The English edition of the magazine is brought out by the Malayala Manorama group.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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