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Objectionable Jesus poster sparks violence, curfew

IANS  Batala (Punjab), February 20, 2010
First Published: 21:03 IST(20/2/2010) | Last Updated: 21:24 IST(20/2/2010)

An indefinite curfew is imposed in the Punjab town of Batala on Saturday after tension prevailed following the publication of a poster depicting Jesus Christ in an objectionable manner. Clashes also broke out as some members of the Christian community forced shopkeepers to down shutters.

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The curfew was imposed after members of the Christian community came to know about the poster, depicting Jesus Christ holding a beer can in one hand and what appeared to be either a cigarette or a chicken leg in the other. 

They started gathering in the town and forced the shopkeepers to close their shops, leading to clashes. The police intervened when they tried to burn a few buildings. 

Batala, 40 km from Amritsar, has a sizeable Christian population and several leading schools and other institutions have been run by the community for the past several decades. 

The curfew will continue till further orders, officials said here. 

Punjab police chief P.S. Gill said a case had been registered against the printer of the objectionable poster. 

"The printing press in which the controversial poster was printed had been sealed and a case has been registered against the accused at the police station in Jalandhar's Division No. 4.

"Additional forces have been sent to sensitive areas to restore the confidence of the people," Gill said in Chandigarh, 250 km from here. 

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is also the state home minister, condemned the act and said no one would be allowed to disturb the peace of the state. 

Pictures of Jesus Christ holding a cigarette in one hand and a beer can in the other in a book for primary classes triggered a row in Meghalaya Friday. The objectionable pictures were found in the cursive writing exercise books at a school in Shillong. 

The Catholic Church in India has banned in all its member schools New Delhi-based Skyline Publications for printing the pictures in class 1 cursive writing books.


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