INDIA. Delhi: Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mahua Moitra’s controversial comments on Goddess Kali intensified on Wednesday after a first information report (FIR) was filed against her in Madhya Pradesh. West Bengal’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) unit also sought her arrest for allegedly hurting Hindu religious sentiments.
The TMC leader’s comments emerge at a time of intense backlash faced by Toronto-based Indian filmmaker Leena Manimekalai’s controversial movie poster of Kaali, depicting the image of a woman dressed as a goddess, smoking a cigarette and brandishing a rainbow flag.
The FIR was triggered by Moitra’s bold remarks about a raging controversy of religious and political nature. On Tuesday, while speaking during a TV interview, she said that for her, Kali is a “meat-eating, alcohol-accepting Goddess”, recognizing every individual’s right to worship deities in their own personal ways. Worshipping gods and goddesses are personal desires that another community or the state cannot question.
Taking note of these remarks, Bhopal police lodged an FIR against the TMC lawmaker under section 295A (outraging religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal code. The complaint was registered by a 52-year-old resident of the Jehangirabad area of the city, noted Anoop Uikey, inspector at Bhopal Crime Branch.
Even Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh did not bow down and strongly condemned Mahua’s statements saying, “Mahua Moitra’s statement has hurt Hindu religious sentiments and insult of Hindu deities will not be tolerated at any cost.”
In an interview, Moitra said, “I do not want to live in an India where BJP’s monolithic patriarchal brahminical view of Hinduism will prevail & rest of us will tiptoe around religion. I will defend this till I die. File your FIRs – will see you in every court in the land.” She later tweeted the interview.
As the state BJP filed police complaints in Kolkata and five other districts into Wednesday night and even threatened to file a lawsuit, tense sparks flew in Bengal.
The opposition leader in the Bengal Legislative Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, compared Moitra’s insulting remarks to Nupur Sharma’s remarks on the Prophet Muhammad.
He said, “The Bengal Government has lodged police cases against Nupur Sharma for her comments (on Prophet Muhammad), but what Moitra has done is far more serious. I am giving the police ten days to arrest Moitra. If they don’t. I will move the Calcutta High Court.”
In a classic Mahua Moitra move, unsanitized and undaunted in her speech, the TMC lawmaker challenged the BJP to “bring it on” and asserted that she was not afraid of the ruling party’s goons, even as her own party condemned the remarks and said it was made “in her personal capacity”.