Intimidation in Goa

IN Media Freedom | 19/08/2009
The editor of Lokmat has filed a police complaint alleging that he received death threats after he published a cartoon of Swami Ramdas Samarth in a suit.
The Hoot is publishing the complaint. Pix: The offending cartoon.

Sanatan Prabhat is an organization which has been under the lens of investigative agencies for fomenting terror against minorities. In Maharashtra they were suspected of aiding Sadhvi Pragya and Colonel Purohit in carrying out bomb blasts in the state. The Hindu Janjagran Samiti has been responsible for carrying out a campaign against M F Hussain.

 

Swami Ramdas Samarth is one of the most revered saints of Maharashtra. A warrior saint, he is said to have inspired Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Swami Ramdas Samarth is usually portrayed wearing a loin cloth. The cartoon depicts a painter who has painted Ramdas Samarth in a suit "so as not to offend the sentiments of people". It is obviously a swipe at the Hindu Jangaran Samiti which has been targetting M F Hussain for his depiction of goddesses.

 

The caption below the cartoon reads, "This is indeed Ramdas Swami. Just to ensure that no one┬┐s sentiments get hurt I have put a suit on."

 

 

The letter:

 

 

From :

 

Raju Nayak

Editor,

Lokmat, Rizvi Chambers,

Caitan Albuquerqe Road, Panaji,

Goa. 403001.

 

 

Director General of Police,

Police Headquarters,

Panaji, Goa.

 

17th August, 2009.

 

           SUB: Complaint of Intimidation and Threat to Editor of Lokmat

 

 

Sir,

 

I have been receiving calls from various people claiming to be members of Hindutva organizations threatening to kill me and my family for publishing cartoons by eminent painter Dr Subodh Kerkar.

 

The threatening calls by members of Hindutva organizations like Sanatan and Hindu Janjagran Samiti increased after Sanatan Prabhat, a newspaper published by the former, printed my office telephone number and asked its members to call me up. Since then we have been harassed by callers from Goa and Maharashtra.

 

Sir, please note that members of the Sanatan Prabhat organization have been questioned by the Maharashtra police for trying to make bombs and planning terrorist activities in that state.

 

Surprisingly, one of the calls I received today was by Dr Vijay Nadkarni from the number 2735819. The caller threatened to kill me for what he claimed to be hurting of Hindu sentiments. On inquiry I have found that the number is from the Government-owned ESI Hospital in Margao and the said Nadkarni is a government doctor attached to the same hospital.

 

I am enclosing copies of the illustrations of Ganesh published in Lokmat Goa dated August 11, 2009 and the cartoon on Swami Ramdas Samarth published in the issue dated August 13 for proof that they are just works of imagination by a talented artist.

 

 

Raju Nayak

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