Australian youth Mattew Keith who was harassed by a mob in Bengaluru on Saturday for having a tattoo of Goddess Yellamma on his leg regrets succumbing to the police's pressure and writing the apology letter.
Keith had come to Bengaluru along with his girlfriend Em Kass, who was also there when the mob harassed them, around four weeks ago and had planned to stay till February. However, after Saturday's incident, they are very afraid to continue their India tour and are planning to leave not only the city but also the nation soon, The Hindu reported.
Keith was harassed by a group of people, including BJP members, outside a restaurant on Residency Road in the afternoon. One of the harassers even threatened to skin Keith's leg, where he had the tattoo.
"One of them came to me and confronted me about my tattoo. Soon, they surrounded us and threatened to skin my leg and remove the tattoo," Keith, a law student at Deakin University, told The Hindu on Sunday.
Even the police did not come to their rescue and instead forced him to write an apology letter for having the tattoo of a Goddess, the couple alleged. They were not allowed to leave for three hours, until Keith succumbed to the pressure of the police.
"A policeman arrived and said this is India and one couldn't sport such a tattoo on the leg," Keith said.
"The policemen advised me on Hindu religion and insisted I give a written apology for not covering my goddess tattoo, even as the group just watched. I tried taking law points, but had to finally give in as my girlfriend was in tears as the cops wouldn't let us go," added Keith, who studied in a school in Kodaikanal.
However, Keith believes he should not have apologised. "I should not have to apologise for what is on my skin and be put in a traumatising situation where it is apparently acceptable to be harassed, threatened and mobbed," he wrote in a Facebook post.
"Tolerance, understanding and equality is what we we live by I respect India and Hinduism completely. That's why I spent 35 hours getting a massive Ganesha put on my back and 4 hours getting the Goddess of the lowest rung of Indian society (Yellamma) on the only bit of space I had left on my body. Because my spiritual journey is my decision, as are the markings on my body. I do not deserve to be victimised and have to physically defend myself and my girlfriend every day," he added.