Loyola College in Chennai found itself in hot water after an art exhibition kindled a social media war with right-wing activists calling them out over 'derogatory paintings' of Bharat Mata and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Loyola College had conducted a two-day folk festival 'Veethi Virudhu Vizha' on January 19 and 20. The exhibition was part of the festival. 

Some of the pieces which angered pro-Hindutva outfits were on caste violence, sexual violence and the treatment of activists in the country. 

The painting which received maximum flak was that of 'Bharat Mata' in the context of the #MeToo campaign. Other paintings which drew a lot of criticism were of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Hinduism.

Tamil Nadu BJP president Tamilisai Soundarajan said that her "blood was boiling" when she saw the paintings. She also said that Loyola College must apologise or face protests from BJP.

BJP has lodged a complaint with Chennai Police over the content of the exhibition and asked for legal action against Loyola College, reports Indian Express.

"Loyola College has for decades been one of our finest educational Institutions. They should not permit anything that can hurt religious sentiments and should not allow their college to be used for political purposes. This is just wrong," political analyst Sundar Raman tweeted.

The Loyola College administration has issued a letter apologising for "the insurmountable hurt" the exhibition caused. They added that the offending pieces have also been taken down.

"We are deeply pained, saddened and equally anguished that the venue to conduct a cultural event... has been misused, our illustrious and pluralistic campus was used for derogative exhibits against a particular religious group, social institution, political party and the country's leadership. The college does not advocate or support anything that tantamount to disturbing peace and tranquillity of the society," Kaleeswaran, the coordinator of the Loyola College literary and arts unit, said in the statement.
loyola college Chennai
Loyola College ChennaiWikimedia Commons