Freedom of Expression and Aurangzeb Exhibition sign now

To: Indian Government


Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil
President of India
[email protected]

Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister of India
[email protected]

This is to protest the Vandalisation of the Exhibition by Police miscreants in chennai without any provocation. An Exhibition on the life and doings of the Moghul emperror Aurangzeb and according to the Moghul records was disrupted ealier this month on 6th March 2008 by the team of Chennai police lead by ACP Murali at the Lalit Kala Academy.

This is a sheer violation of the Fundamental right, Right to Freedom of Expression. The exhibition based on the Akhbarat (court documents) from Aurangzeb's court were procured from the GOI, Museums Department, and depicted artistically by the eminent Miniature artists from Jaipur is a precious collection and one of its kind.

An art show at the prestigious Lalit Kala Akademi (LKA) Chennai curated by journalist Francois Gautier was at the receiving end of moral policing (Chennai police) when an exhibition on Mughal emperor Aurangzeb was shut down.

Stating that it had received three complaints, that the show would disturb communal harmony, police on Thursday night burst into the exhibition, threw the precious paintings all over destroying many of them, shut it down forcibly, took into custody three women associated with the hosting of the exhibition illegally at about 7:30 pm and seized some of the works on display.

The exhibition of 40 paintings, including exceptional miniatures by noted Indian artists, gathered together by Gautiers Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT) were on show at the LKA from March 3. The show included Akhbarats (edicts issued by Aurangzeb) from the Bikaner museum and other material on Aurangzeb. It also contained two pictures depicting Aurangzebs army destroying the Somnath temple in Gujarat and the Kesava Rai temple in Mathura which were based on Aurangzebs edicts.

The right to freedom of expression and the right to exhibit a show that had travelled all over India peacefully and has won appreciation of visitors and media were curbed with such unashamed attitude in a central govt run agency the LKA.

Though the Joint Commissioner of Police P Balasubramanian later told the media: We feared it might create a law and order problem everybody knew that Aurangzeb was a tyrannical and cruel ruler and why would somebody (individual / community )try to get identified with such a person unless they / it has some ulterior motives. FACT has been trying to build forums and dialogue for better understanding of History and communities. The exhibition is one such attempt. The three women volunteers from FACT, Saraswathi (65), Vijayalakshmi (62) and Malathi (47), were picked up from the show at about 7.30 p.m. and taken to the police station, where they were allegedly held for nearly an hour without being allowed to contact their families or any lawyer.

This can happen only in some tyrannical country or that ruled by a tyrannical and undemocratic govt. The Paintings have been in a very bad shape and while the exhibition has been "suspended for the time being" and the art and history exhibition locked up in the LKA. The LKA has not answered nor have the chennai police tried to protect the exhibition. http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/uncategorized/chennai-cops-shut-down-lalit-kala-akademi-show-on-aurangzeb_10024937.html

We appeal to restore the exhibition in chennai and provide damages and compensation for FACT. We also demand an unconditional appology for the vandalism from the Govt and its police as well as the LKA.

Complete coverage
http://factusa.blogspot.com/search/label/FACT\%20chennai

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Francine LucasBy:
Entertainment and MediaIn:
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Indian Government

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