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‘Sacred cow’ cartoon on Priti Patel rams into ‘Hinduphobia’, ‘racism’


Home Secretary Priti Patel arrives for the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 9, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Henry Nicholls)
Home Secretary Priti Patel arrives for the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 9, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Henry Nicholls)

A CARTOON on Priti Patel as a “sacred cow” to some, a “bull-y” to others has stirred social media, with tweeple finding it “racist”, “derogatory” and amounting to “a hate crime”.

The cartoon by Steve Bell in the Guardian, featuring bovine caricatures of the home secretary and the prime minister, was a satirical take on the recent bullying controversy in which Boris Johnson threw his weight behind Patel, saying she was doing “an outstanding job”.

The artwork, however, provoked derision and disillusionment among twitteratti.

Former chancellor Sajid Javid tweeted: “Reminiscent of anti-Semitic cartoons from the last century. Incredibly offensive. @guardian should know better.”

Responding to the tweet, Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan said: “Just imagine what Guardian journalists would have been screaming if a similar cartoon had appeared in the Daily Mail about a Labour politician of Ugandan-Indian heritage? Instead, all we hear is deafening complicit silence.
‘Liberal’ hypocrisy is astounding.”

Parliamentarian Steve Double assailed the Guardian’s “credibility”, saying: “The cartoon of Priti Patel is racists and misogynistic. If it depicted a female politician from the left there would be an outcry. The level of hypocrisy has reached new levels. Totally unacceptable.”

Politics lecturer Adrian Hilton hinted that the cartoon could be considered as a display of religious or racial “hate”.

Another user, Rita Panahi, went on to call the team behind the cartoon “racist, reality-denying, cretinous bullies”.

Some media reports also referred to “Hinduphobia”, citing tweets accusing the cartoon of being “offensive” to Hindus.

The British Tamil Conservatives handle said: ‘This cartoon is offensive on every level. – It’s anti-Hindu. It portrays the Home Secretary, of Hindu origin as a cow. A sacred symbol for Hindus. – Its racist and – misogynist. It’s plainly unacceptable! It may constitute a hate crime.”

Some users also pointed to hypocrisy and double standards, claiming that there would have been a public outrage if a leftist leader of black, Asian or minority ethnic origin had been sketched in a similar way.

“Imagine the reaction if the Telegraph portrayed [Labour’s shadow home secretary] Diane Abbott with a ring in her nose,” said a one.

Another tweeted: “Truly shocking. Where are the woke brigade?”

One user said he was “very surprised there’s not been a backlash from the Indian Community….”

Incidentally, this is not first time a Patel cartoon in the Guardian getting panned in recent times.

A cartoon on Patel’s immigration plans last month, too, had drawn some caustic remarks, with one user calling the paper “dirty, racist, misogynist”.