Renowned painter Maqbool Fida Husain may be able to return to India by December-end or early next year.
The government wants to create conducive conditions for the artist — who received his first Padma award in 1966 — to end his exile and return to India, a senior government official said on Wednesday.
A home ministry official said the government had taken an in-principle decision that the harassment Husain has been facing should end and was exploring ways in which this condition could be achieved.
“We have set a target of December-end,” the official said on conditions of anonymity.
“It is high time that the government comes out with a clear stand with regard to harassment of artists at hands of lumpen elements,” Akhil Sibal, Husain’s lawyer said, demanding that the Centre send out a message that those who restort to such tactics would be dealt with “swiftly and severely”.
The home ministry is contemplating approaching the Supreme Court for expeditious disposal of all cases arising out of Husain’s controversial paintings.
Several cases were filed against Husain for his paintings of Hindu gods and goddesses. Husain has been in Dubai since 2006 after his paintings were repeatedly vandalised.
After the SC ordered transfer of all pending cases to the Capital, the Delhi High Court quashed four complaints in May 2008 and February 2009.
Sibal had earlier moved the SC and Delhi HC to seek transfer and quashing of the complaints lodged against the artist. He said there were three more cases against Husain being heard at the Patiala House courts on SC orders.
One, a Delhi case, was at the stage of investigation. In two more cases, transferred from Rajkot in Gujarat and Pandharpur in Maharashtra, the police are yet to submit their report to the court that would have to decide on pursuing the case further or its dismissal.