‘Saamana’ Cartoonist Says Sorry for Hurting Maratha Sentiments
‘Saamana’ caricaturist Shreenivas Prabhudesai on Wednesday expressed regret over an objectionable cartoon, which led to a storm of protests from the Maratha community, including attacks on the newspaper’s office and printing press.
In a statement published by Saamana Group, Prabhudesai said the cartoon was not intended to hurt the sentiments of any group or community, particularly the Marathas.
“Despite this, if it has hurt anybody’s feelings, I am sorry for the same,” Prabhudesai said, expressing regret over his creation.
He said though he was an artist, he was not a political cartoonist and he draws cartoons to give some comic relief to people embroiled in their daily hectic lives.
The controversial cartoon took a swipe at the ongoing month-long agitations and huge protest marches by the Maratha community across the state.
Playing with words about the “silent processions” called “mook morchas”, the cartoon showed a couple kissing with the caption “mooka (kissing) morcha”, which enraged the Marathas in the state.
The Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and leading Maratha organisations have demanded an unconditional apology from Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray.
In Aurangabad, a bonfire was made of copies of the newspaper and other forms of protests were held in different parts of Maharashtra even as the Opposition, the ruling ally BJP and the Shiv Sena engaged in a political slugfest.
On its part, Shiv Sena senior Cabinet Minister Subhash Desai flayed the Congress-NCP for fuelling the ongoing pro-reservations agitation among the Marathas all over the state.
He said that Thackeray has fully supported the ongoing Maratha agitation and even Sanjay Raut had backed it through his writings in ‘Saamana’, but it is the Congress-NCP which is vitiating the peaceful atmosphere.