A day after two artists were detained over exhibiting a plastic cow which was tied to a balloon, the Jaipur police on Sunday transferred two of its personnel “for mishandling the situation”.
A controversy erupted on Saturday, after a dummy cow made of plastic and hooked to a balloon was installed in the open space of the Jawahar Kala Kendra (JKK), a centre of cultural and artistic activities, and was floating 50 ft above the ground,
Half an hour after the installation was displayed on the inaugural day of the five-day Jaipur Art Summit, members of a right-wing organisation and animal rights activists reached the spot and asked organisers to dismantle the artwork made by artist Siddharth Kararwal.
“Two policemen, including Bajaj Nagar station house officer (SHO) Mahendra Gupta, have been sent to the police lines for the way they handled the dummy cow controversy,” said deputy commissioner of police, Jaipur (east), Kunwar Rashtradeep.
“It is too early to say whether we showed lack of maturity over the issue but an inquiry has been set up and we will take action soon,” he said.
A police official said the police personnel from the Bajaj Nagar police station, under which the JKK premises fall, went to the summit and asked the artists to take down the plastic cow as it was hurting people’s sentiments .
“The SHO and a constable rushed to the spot and detained artists Anish Ahluwalia and Chintan Upadhyay for depicting gau-mata (cow) hanging from a rope in an insulting manner and asked the organisers to dismantle the art installation,” he said. The two artists were taken to the police station for questioning and were later released after they agreed to dismantle the installation.
A summit organiser said the police action was “an attack on free speech”. “We created this event to support free art and such action by police certainly gives Jaipur a bad image,” said Vidhyasagar Upadhyay, an organiser.