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Nude Ganesh idols to be removed after protest

india Updated: Sep 21, 2007 14:43 IST

IANS
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After strong protests by the Hindu community in the Canadian city of Edmonton, a series of sculptures depicting Hindu god Ganesh in the nude will finally be removed from display.

Edmonton's Mayor Stephen Mandel ordered the removal Wednesday after receiving a signed petition from 16 Hindu community leaders and priests.

Four statues of Ganesh, particularly a nude infant and one showing the god decapitated but with a woman's breast, has upset the Hindu community, Globe and Mail reported.

"Showing nudity over there, showing the arms and ammunition in his hand, his head has been cut off, that's not the right way. That's not the way he should be presented," said Rajiv Ranjan of the Hindu Society of Alberta.

Ranjan and other community leaders said the sculptures were insulting the community and the religion. Mandel said he wants the sculptures down as soon as possible.

"I think it is important that we're cognizant of things we do that might have an impact on the community when we have public art," Mandel said. "At the same time we don't want to be censoring art either, so we have to strike a fine balance."

The sculptures were chosen for display by the non-profit Art and Design in Public Places program and have been on display for the last ten months.

Ryan McCourt, the sculptor however, is unapologetic.

"My research led me to find out that there is nothing offensive about these sculptures," McCourt told CBC News. "They are totally within the bounds of traditional depictions, and the people that are upset about these works are just a handful of individuals that don't like this artwork."

McCourt said he's not happy with the mayor's decision.

"I think it is disgraceful," the sculptor said. "I think for someone who puts himself forward as a friend of the arts, he's put his foot in the mouth. He's made a fool of himself basically."