Kerala artist’s house stoned for drawings on Kathua crime

Durga Malathi had shared two paintings on FB after the Kathua incident, which were termed anti-Hindu and led to a social media attack on her.
Kerala artist’s house stoned for drawings on Kathua crime
Kerala artist’s house stoned for drawings on Kathua crime
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Days after a vitriolic social media attack was unleashed on a Kerala-based artist for her paintings on the Kathua rape and murder case, which apparently offended Hindu religious sentiments, the violence against her has now taken a horrifying turn.

Late on Thursday night, Durga Malathi’s house in Palakkad district came under attack from unidentified persons. The attackers pelted stones at her house in Ottappalam and also damaged the glass of her vehicle that was parked in the compound.

Taking to Facebook on Friday, Durga said that several people justified the social media attack on her, claiming that she had offended religious sentiments.

“What wrong have I done? I drew pictures against those who raped and killed a little girl. I have been forced several times to clarify that the paintings are not against any religion. I am now in a situation where I have to constantly remind myself that I live in a democratic country,” she wrote.

The controversy erupted last week after two of her paintings based on the Kathua crime were termed as offensive to Hindus. Durga had shared two paintings on her Facebook profile that she created in the backdrop of the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua in Jammu. The girl was abducted, confined inside a temple and raped by multiple men, before she was killed.

One of the paintings, shared on April 12, showed a small girl forcefully tied to a penis which bore symbols of Hindutva, including a red flag, vibhooti and kumkumam.

The post was accompanied by a note that said: “People who think using their genitals… People who talk politics using their genitals… People who pray using genitals… This country is theirs too. Soon, this country will be only theirs.”

The other painting, posted on April 15, juxtaposed a penis on a thrishool (trident) and was shared with the description: “People who use their genitals as weapons.”

While both her paintings went viral on social media, it soon gave way to a vitriolic social media attack on her. Her paintings were said to insult the Hindu religion, and an organised campaign on both Facebook and Twitter urged the Kerala police to book Durga for offending religious sentiments.

Screenshots of her Facebook profile were shared, her photographs morphed, rape and death threats were thrown at her from even users outside Kerala. Durga then clarified through a Facebook live that her paintings were not meant to offend any religion.

“Because of the paintings, Sanghis are constantly threatening me online, sending me abusive texts. The theme of the painting that resembles a thrishool is not to offend any religion. The theme is that those people used their genitals as a weapon to rape a little girl. The other painting is only about the accused in that case,” Durga had said.

Despite the clarification, the social media attacks had not stopped. 

After her house came under attack on Thursday, Durga gave a complaint to the Pattambi police, who are now investigating the case.

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