Hindu groups in Australia protest against using Ganesha’s image in ‘insulting’ ad

Battling against disrespect towards religious icons, Hindu groups in Australia have held peaceful demonstrations against a controversial advertisement which they described as “insulting” to their faith for featuring the deity Lord Ganesha in a lamb roast along with several other deities and prophets.

Lord Ganesha
A still from the ad. Photo courtesy: YouTube

The protests came after Australia’s advertising watchdog dismissed complaints filed by Hindu groups against the advertisement launched earlier this month by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), PTI reported.

The community members on Sunday organised rallies in major Australian cities, including Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, against the advertisement.

According to Kushagra Bhatnagar of Overseas Friends of Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) (Australia), the demonstrations were held to create awareness about Lord Ganesha.

“Lord Ganesha is a vegetarian and laddoos (Indian sweets) is what we should offer not lamb,” Bhatnagar said.

In Melbourne, demonstrators offered laddoos to the people at Federation Square. In Sydney, several Hindus formed a human chain to express their angst. The demonstrators held placards reading ‘Stop insulting Hindu Gods’.

The protests were organised by Hindu Council of Australia and other Hindu organisations.

Indian Forum Australia (IFA) president Nihal Agar said the advertisement had hurt the sentiments of Hindus and the protests were held to express anger, frustration and disappointment with the MLA.

“This is not the multicultural Australia that we truly love,” he said.

Earlier this month, India’s High Commission in Canberra lodged a complaint with the Australian government asking for the ad’s removal.

However, Australia’s Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) said while many Hindus are vegetarian, vegetarianism is not a requirement of the faith.

It said the depiction of Lord Ganesha was “simply symbolic of the Hindu faith and his inclusion is part of the message of an inclusive multi-faith meal”. 


Tushaar Kuthiala
Tushaar Kuthiala – Associate Editor

Tushaar has extensive experience as a journalist and in founding two start-up newspapers. He has developed editorial models for both copy and content, and has written several articles, news reports on a wide range of topics. He is a graduate of St. Stephen’s College and earned a post-graduate diploma in TV Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism (ACJ), Chennai. He has worked as a special correspondent based in New Delhi with Daily World, an international media organisation. 


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