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India roasts Australia over religiously offensive lamb ad

Advertisment featuring Hindu god Ganesha eating meat with Jesus is in poor taste, adherents say

India roasts Australia over religiously offensive lamb ad

Indian devotees rest as they wait for the immersion of the Hindu God Ganesh in the Hussain Sagar Lake during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Hyderabad in this Sept 6, 2017 photo. India has lodged a diplomatic protest with Australia following the airing of an advert depicting the vegetarian Hindu deity eating lamb. (Photo by Noah Seelam/AFP)

September 11, 2017

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The Indian government has lodged a diplomatic protest with Australia over a recent advert that depicts the Hindu god Ganesha eating lamb.

The television advert to promote lamb portrays well-known figures from several religions sitting down to a meal.

The Hindu community in Australia has voiced anger because Ganesh — a deity depicted as half man-half elephant — is regarded as a vegetarian.

The Indian High Commission (embassy) in Canberra said it had lodged a diplomatic protest with three Australian government departments.

It also urged Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), the organization behind the ad, to withdraw it because many people thought it "offensive and was hurting their religious sentiments."

"A number of community associations have also registered their protest with government of Australia and Meat and Livestock Australia," the Indian high commission said in a statement.

The advert shows religious figures including Jesus, Buddha and Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard talking and eating at a table. It makes a brief reference to the Prophet Muhammad not being able to come.

The Hindu Council of Australia said it was a "crude and deplorable attempt" to use images of Ganesh to promote eating lamb.

One online petition to ban the advert has attracted more than 4,400 signatures.

The MLA has defended the advert, saying it was aimed at promoting diversity and unity.


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