News Karnataka
Monday, March 27 2023

Australian couple harassed over tattoo, taught “Hindu values”

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Bengaluru: It was a peaceful lunch that went horribly wrong for an Australian couple, as they were harassed by a group of people at a restaurant here on Saturday. The harassment was owing to the young man sporting a tattoo of Hindu goddess Yellamma on his shin. It has been reported that they threatened to skin his leg to get rid of it.
Their nightmarish experience didn’t seem to end as the city police not only detained them but also forced the man to apologise to the group for ‘hurting their religious sentiments.’

The incident took place at around 2 p.m. when Matthew Gordon (21) and his girl friend Emily Kassianou (20) from Melbourne were spotted by the group. “One of them came to me and confronted me about my tattoo. Soon, they surrounded us and threatened to skin my leg and remove the tattoo,” a visibly shaken Gordon, a law student, told The Hindu on Sunday.

The group soon called in more people and over 25 men gathered outside the eatery, not allowing the couple to leave. “A policeman arrived and said this is India and one couldn’t sport such a tattoo on the leg,” Gordon recalled.

After the shaming session at the restaurant, Gordon, his girlfriend Emily and their local friend Abhishek were taken to the Ashok Nagar police station , where the couple were allegedly given a “dressing-down” and a “lesson on Hindu values” by the police personnel in front of the protesting group. .

“Policemen forced Matthew to write an apology and we were made to wait for three hours till he did so,” said Ms. Kassianou.

“The policemen advised me on Hindu religion and insisted I give a written apology for not covering my goddess tattoo, even as the group just watched. I tried taking law points, but had to finally give in as my girlfriend was in tears as the cops wouldn’t let us go,” Gordon said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Sandeep Patil termed the matter “trivial.” “Both parties have reached a compromise and there is nothing serious about it,” he said.

However, the couple have said that fear has made them consider leaving the city and even the country. The young couple, both from Melbourne, were planning to stay in the city till February. They said that Saturday’s ordeal had shaken them. “There could be repercussions from the men who accosted us … It looks like I may be forced out of Bengaluru,” Gordon said.

Reacting to the incident, Bharatiya Janata Party Bengaluru City president Subbunarasimha condemned the episode. Referring to the allegation that a BJP leader from Shantinagar was involved in the episode, Subbunarasimha said he will summon him on Monday to get details. “Even if our own party worker is involved in this, it is completely wrong. I want to make it clear that the BJP has nothing do with this episode,” he told The Hindu.

 Display Photo courtesy: The Hindu


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