Twenty-one-year-old Keith alleged that he was forced by the angry crowd and Ashok Nagar police to write an apology letter

Australian with tattoo of a goddess heckled forced to apologize to Bengaluru copsImage for representation
news Monday, October 19, 2015 - 09:36

In a series of Facebook posts, an Australian man, who was visiting Bengaluru, expressed his dissent over the attack by a mob on him and his friends after a group of people found him with a tattoo of a goddess on his shin, and said that he was forced to write an apology letter in police station.

Times of India reported that on Saturday, Matt Keith and his friend Emily, who were near residency road, were heckled by the angry crowd for having tattoo of Hindu goddess Yellamma on his shin.

Twenty-one-year-old Keith alleged that he was forced by the angry crowd and Ashok Nagar police to write an apology letter.

The newspaper reported that in the apology letter addressed to the sub-inspector of Ashok Nagar police station, Keith said that he did not know of the custom in regard to tattoo placement. It read: “My name is Matthew visiting from Melbourne, Australia. I am very sorry for offending Hindu religious beliefs by my tattoo. I didn't know of this auspicious custom in regard to tattoo placement. I will make sure to cover it up until I am in India. Thanking you for educating me on what is appropriate. I am also extremely sorry for using inappropriate language.”

However, according to the newspaper report, both the sub-inspector and inspector of Ashok Nagar police station denied such a thing happened.

A day after the incident, Keith's post on Facebook post read: “Tolerance, understanding and equality is what we live by. I respect India and Hinduism completely. That's why I spent 35 hours getting a massive Ganesha put on my back and four hours getting the goddess of the lowest rung of Indian society (Yellamma) on the only bit of space I had left on my body. Because my spiritual journey is my decision, as are the markings on my body. I do not deserve to be victimised and have to physically defend myself and my girlfriend every day. She does not deserve sexual abuse, both physical and verbal. We support equality for all, tolerance of everyone and especially for the women in this country. Please support us as we try to bring awareness to crimes of injustice.”

Through the post he said that he need not have to apologise for what was on his skin and that his friend and he were traumatised.

He said, “My forced letter of apology that I had to write before I could leave the police station at Ashok Nagar. I should not have to apologise for what is on my skin and be put in a traumatising situation where it is apparently acceptable to be harassed, threatened and mobbed."

This is an aggregated report from Times of India


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