A BJP leader and his men allegedly harassed an Australian tourist at a restaurant in Bengaluru on Monday for sporting a tattoo of a Hindu goddess on his leg.
Matthew Gordon (21) was taken to a police station along with his girlfriend and allegedly forced to write an apology letter for insulting the religious sentiments of Hindus and using abusive language.
Gordon said the police sided with the men who were harassing the couple and gave him a lesson on local sensibilities. He said that some of the men who harassed him also threatened to “peel off” the tattoo of Hindu goddess Yellamma.
BJP leader Ramesh Yadav — a confidante of BS Yeddyurappa — however, said all he wanted was for Gordon to cover up the tattoo on his leg by wearing full-length trousers. “But when we asked the hotel staff to convey this message to him, he got aggressive and started using bad language. That is when we intervened,” he said.
Tensions between Gordon and the BJP leader eased after the 21-year-old tourist wrote a letter of apology addressed to a local police inspector in which he agreed to cover up his tattoo while in India.
Yadav said he and his men only dealt with the situation sternly and did not threaten the Australian man or resort to violence. He said the threat by his men to peel off Gordon’s tattoo should not be taken literally. “When a loud
argument happens and when a White man abuses you in English, you might end up saying things you don’t mean. We are the ones who followed the law by getting the police involved,” he said.
Gordon said he was forced to go through a two-hour ordeal at the police station.
Australia expresses concern over incident
An Australian high commission spokesperson said in New Delhi that the issue has been taken up with local authorities and that contact has been made with the couple.“We are concerned about reports that an Australian citizen was threatened with violence and detained by police because of a tattoo.