India raises cartoon issue with newspaper

The Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka has written to a local newspaper regarding a cartoon of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh which has angered some groups in India.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s spokesman Bandula Jayasekera tweeted saying that the Indian High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha has written to the Lakbima newspaper regarding the cartoon.

The Deccan Chronicle in India reported that noted poet-author Meena Kandasamy had called the cartoon a vulgar and offensive sketch of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.

Another influential Tamil, Janani Jananayagam from London too tweeted her protest. People also e-mailed TN chief secretary Debendranath Sarangi on this, the Indian newspaper said.

However the acting Editor of the Lakbima newspaper Ranga Jayasuriya was quoted by the Groundviews website as saying the cartoon should be seen as a matter of artistic expression.

“Cartoons can, sometimes, be provocative, irritating and even outrageous in the way they lampoon the powers that be. Our cartoon depicts the Indian political dynamics vis-à-vis  Sri Lanka, as viewed by our cartoonist. A cartoon could hardly cover the full range of the story. Our cartoon, in my opinion, did not cover the full scope of the Indian foreign approach towards Sri Lanka as per the Tamil question. But it covered a part of it, i.e. Tamil Nadu’s increasing belligerence towards Sri Lanka and a prime minister who appeared to be lost in this power dynamic,” Jayasuriya said. (Colombo Gazette)