Australia today expressed concern over alleged harassment of one of its citizens and his girlfriend by a group of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in Bengalaru for sporting tattoo of a Hindu goddess on his body and police forcing them to write an apology for it.
An Australian High Commission spokesperson said here that the issue has been taken up with local authorities and that contact has been made with the couple — Matt Keith and Emily.
“We are concerned about reports that an Australian citizen was threatened with violence and detained by police because of a tattoo. The Australian Consulate General in Chennai is speaking with local authorities about the incident and has made contact with the couple in question,” said an Australian High Commission spokesperson here.
He said further said, “We understand offence was taken at an image of a deity tattooed on a person’s leg. We are in contact with local authorities regarding the incident. The Australian government encourages Australians travelling abroad to research and respect local customs and laws.”
Bengalaru Police has launched an inquiry into allegations by the couple who narrated the incident that happened at a restaurant on a Facebook post claiming that they were “illegally detained” by police after the “vicious assault by members of BJP”.
The incident occurred on Saturday when Keith, a law student at Deakin University, and his girlfriend Emily were at a restaurant and a group of people took objection to Keith having a tattoo of the goddess, Yellamma, on his shin. He also has large Ganesha tatoo on his back.
The couple said that as they were in the restaurant, some people there started photographing them. One of them approached them and objected to Keith having a tattoo of the goddess.
They said more people soon joined them. Some policemen came to the spot and took them to Ashok Nagar police station, where they were allegedly forced to write an apology letter.