Delhi BJP government takes cognizance of private complaint against M.F. Husain


We condemn the decision to take cognizance of a private criminal complaint against the noted artist M.F. Husain. Coming on the heels of the Delhi BJP government’s plan to denotify churches as religious places, the initiation of a case against M.F. Husain is yet another instance of the unfolding of the communal agenda of the BJP. It is apparent that the permission to the Delhi Police can only be given by the concurrence of the Central Cabinet and the Home Minister L.K. Advani. This is surprising in view of the fact that several Cabinet Ministers, specifically Mr. Ramakrishna Hegde, have publicly announced their disapproval of the attacks on M.F. Husain by the Sangh Parivar.

By allowing criminal proceedings against an artist for a work which has been in the public domain for over two decades, the Sangh Parivar is sending a clear signal of its vengeful intentions of imposing retrospective censorship on creativity. This pernicious logic will eventually lead to the closure of our museums and the destruction of whatever is not to the liking of the


Sangh Parivar in our culture. This witch-hunting is morally and socially repugnant and legally untenable.

The case against M.F. Husain is one of a piece with the ongoing pursuit of a disastrous communal agenda by the BJP government which includes packing of the ICHR with historians supporting the BJP and introduction of so-called moral education in the BJP-ruled states, which is divisive and obscurantist.

Sahmat appeals to all secular political parties to raise the issue in Parliament and other public forums along with cultural personalities and the secular citizenry.

We also wish to address a few queries to the self-proclaimed secular allies of the BJP government. Will Mr. Hegde still raise the issue in the Cabinet? Will Mr. Chandrababu Naidu discontinue his support to the government in view of the blatant communal agenda being pursued by the government? Are George Fernandes, Nitish Kumar and Navin Patnaik a party to this decision?