India State Mulls Blasphemy Law In “Smoking Jesus” Row

Author: Biswajyoti Das

Source: Reuters

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE61M1KB20100223

Christian outrage at a school book picture showing Jesus Christ holding a beer bottle and a cigarette has spurred authorities in northeastern India to draft an anti-blasphemy law for schools.

Police in Meghalaya state have seized the notebooks and are taking a New-Delhi based private publisher to court on accusations of offending religious sentiments.

In the notebooks, which were meant for handwriting classes, the Jesus picture accompanies the word “idol” and is used to illustrate the letter ‘I’.

“The proposed law will help the government take action against such publishers,” Ampareen Lyngdoh, the state of Meghalaya’s education minister, told Reuters on Tuesday.