Sangli, Mumbai. Even as the police grappled with stone pelting adults fighting over a poster of Shivaji in Miraj, situation turned worse when hundreds of kids came out of a nearby school and started pelting stones at each other today afternoon. The kids were fighting over a poster of “Tom & Jerry” that was colored by one of the kids during the fine-arts class. As soon as the poster was put for display in the school gallery, kids grouped themselves into factions of Hindus and Muslims and started throwing stuff at each other.
“The poster was absolutely shocking and demeaning to us. It showed a saffron mouse kicking the ass of a green cat. Are we dumb not to understand that it was meant to demoralize Muslims? When we protested over the choice of colors, the teacher said that a student was free to use any color he wanted. The teacher is a communal Hindu. We decided to take things in our hands otherwise our self respect would have been trampled.” Abdul, a four year old kid fumed.
Kids opposing the poster, most of whom happen to be Muslims, also claim that the poster was ‘instigating’ and it exploited the prevailing sentiments in the area to foment violence.
“Mouse is the vehicle of the Hindu God Ganesh and by painting a saffron mouse they meant a Ganesh worshipping Hindu. A cat that attacks a mouse is of course hungry and by painting a green cat they meant a Muslim fasting during Ramzan. This poster is so disturbing to be painted at a time when Ganesh Chaturthi and Ramzan are going on.” Abdul argued.
But kids supporting the poster, most of whom happen to be Hindus, reject the charges and insist that the poster showed a ‘historical fact’ that nobody could change. They rejected the charges that the colors were offending, claiming they were ‘natural choices’ for a poster.
“It’s a well known fact that Jerry always kicks the ass of Tom, what’s so upsetting in the poster? These guys have always created problems over small stuffs. This time we would not bow down to their threats. We’d keep on coloring similar posters again and again.” Shiv Senapati, the kid told Faking News as he hurled a stone on the opposite camp.
The kid who colored the poster has gone into hiding. But Faking News could trace him down in his home away from the madding crowd.
“I love Tom & Jerry and I didn’t have any idea of any religion when I used saffron and green. I used them because the earlier poster I had painted was of Indian tricolor and I had the same colors left in my paintbrushes and watercolor sets. I was in a hurry to submit the poster that’s why I didn’t bother to use new colors. I didn’t know using the colors of the national flag will cause this problem.” a sobbing Kabir (name changed for security reasons) told Faking News.