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Newsline: Australian High Commission voices concern over Indian activists’ threat to ‘skin’ Australian over tattoo

The Australian High Commission expressed concern over the alleged harassment of one of its citizens and his girlfriend. Right-wing activists threatened to “skin” an Australian visitor who had a tattoo of a Hindu goddess on his leg, police said, adding they were looking for the culprits. Matthew Gordon was at a restaurant in the southern city of Bangalore with his girlfriend on Saturday when around a dozen activists from the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party began harassing the couple. They said a tattoo of the fertility goddess Yellama on his shin offended their religious sentiments, and ordered him to remove it. Bangalore deputy police commissioner Sandeep Patil said Gordon told officers at the station that the men had threatened to skin his leg if he did not. “I was relieved to see a policeman, but much to my shock he started to blame me, and said, ‘This is India and we are insulting Hindus’,” Gordon later told The Hindu daily. Tensions between Gordon and the activists only 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. However, police said Monday they had obtained CCTV footage of the incident and were taking it seriously. Australia’s High Commission (embassy) said it was concerned about the incident and was speaking to local authorities.



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