NEW DELHI (Web Desk) – A group of Hindu hardliners recently misbehaved and forced two artists to deface their own artwork on a wall, according to Delhi Culture Minister Kapil Mishra.
Mishra has accused the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) of threatening and intimidating artists, including a French national, for painting Urdu text on a wall as part a project undertaken by the Aam Admi Party government in New Delhi.
The incident took place on May 20 when French artist Swen Simon and Akhlaq Ahmed were painting a couplet in Urdu on a wall of the Delhi Jal Board’s building in Shahdara.
“Seeing them writing in Urdu, a group of persons who identified themselves as RSS workers asked both artists to stop writing in Urdu and raised slogans ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Jai Hind’,” Mishra told a press conference yesterday.
The work is part of ‘MyDilliStory’ project commissioned by the Delhi Government’s art, culture and languages department. Under the project, 40 of the best couplets in Hindi, English, Urdu and Punjabi languages will be painted on walls across the national capital.
Mishra said the French artist Siman was surrounded by a group of RSS workers who demanded that he use the color saffron while writing “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” on the walls, over his original painting.
“As all artists feared seeing a huge crowd, they followed their instructions. During the episode, they raised slogans in favour of PM Narendra Modi,” he added.
The minister has demanded proper security for artists engaged in painting walls under the government’s art initiatives – ‘Delhi, I Love You’.
In response to the incident, Mishra wrote to Police Commissioner Alok Verma, saying that the Delhi Police had failed to take action against RSS members who allegedly cornered the artists and threatened them.
“I demand that police take immediate action against members of the RSS who indulged in such a heinous act against our artists and violated all the laws of the land. I hope the police will become more sensitive to the diverse social fabric of Delhi,” the minister wrote to the police.
However, the RSS “vehemently” refuted the charges and said that right-wing outfit does not believe in any kind of violence.