Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) has forced the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi to cancel an award given to a cartoon allegedly insulting priests.
The cartoon of K.K. Subash lampoons Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal, facing charges rape. The cartoon shows a fowl while a pair of pink-coloured lingerie hangs on his sceptre.
In a statement, the KCBC termed it as "vulgar" and "amounting to humiliating Christian values."
Following this, the government asked the Akademi to re-examine the first prize awarded to the cartoon.
The KCBC wondered if the Left government was assuming that the minority community did not stand with the CPM and taking ‘revenge’ on them after it lost all but one seat in the parliamentary elections last month.
KCBC spokesman Verghese Vallikat said the decision to honour such a cartoon was “unfortunate and highly objectionable.” He also sought an unconditional apology from the Akademi officials.
An upset culture minister A.K. Balan said the state government did not agree with the content of the cartoon and it has no role in selecting the winners, which is the job of an independent jury.
"After protests surfaced, we examined it and came to a conclusion that it was not right to hurt religious sentiments of a community,” he said.
Akademi chairman Nemom Pushparaj later said the Akademi would take suitable action to rectify it. Famous cartoonist Sukumar was the chair of the jury.
“Since serious charges were raised against the cartoon, we will have a relook on it,” he said.
But Kerala Cartoon Academy termed the state's decision as an attack on creative freedom.
"Don't put shackles on the cartoon, it'll lose its relevance," its secretary Thomas Antony said in a statement. The award carries a cash prize of Rs 50,000....