Hindu groups in the United States have slammed Meena Harris, niece of Senator Kamala Harris, for tweeting an “offensive” image depicting the Democratic vice presidential nominee for the 2020 election as goddess Durga. The Hindu groups have also sought an apology from Meena Harris for tweeting the picture.
In a tweet, Suhag A Shukla of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) said, “Your tweeting a caricature of the feminine divine, Maa Durga, with faces superimposed, deeply aggrieved many Hindus globally.”
HAF, which represents the Hindu American community, has issued a guideline for commercial use of images relating to the religion.
Rishi Bhutada, Hindu American Political Action Committee, said the “offensive” picture was not created by Meena Harris herself. The Biden campaign has also confirmed to him that the image was not created by it. He, however, demanded an apology from Meena Harris for posting a picture that depicted Kamala Harris as Durga.
“Given that, I personally believe that an apology should come from Meena Harris even though she did delete the tweet, and no one else. Our religious iconography should not be used in the service of politics in America — I said the same when the Fort Bend County GOP did it in an ad in 2018, and it holds the same here,” Rishi Bhutada was quoted as saying by PTI.
Ajay Shah, the convener of American Hindus Against Defamation, said that the image, depicting Kamala Harris as Durga, has offended and outraged the religious community.
The tweet by Meena Harris, which has now been deleted, said: “I am actually speechless, other than to say that the first day of Navaratri was LIT.” The image showed Kamala Harris, depicted as goddess Durga, was seen killing US President Donald Trump, depicted as ‘Mahishasura’.
The image also showed Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden as a lion, the ‘vahana’ (vehicle) of the goddess.
Author Shefali Vaidya said, “If you think you are going to win Hindu votes by mocking us, think again. This image is highly offensive and insulting to Hindus. Our Divinities are NOT cultural curios for you to mock and trivialise. And you delete without an apology?”