An Australian swimwear collection featuring the image of Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of beauty, wealth and good fortune, has been scrapped after it sparked outrage across India
The display of the swimwear during last week's Australian Fashion Week in Sydney triggered widespread protests in Hindu-majority India, with angry mobs in northern Punjab state burning Australian flags, according to media reports.
India had raised the issue with the Australian ambassador in New Delhi. Indian commerce minister Anand Sharma said the issue was also raised during talks with his Australian counterpart Craig Emerson in Parliament House.
Designer Lisa Blue has apologised for any offence caused by the design of her swimwear line.
In a statement, the company said it has stopped the production of the swimwear and the offending swimsuits would not be sold.
Welcoming the latest move, Indian commerce minister Anand Sharma said that "Lakshmi is a deity which is worshipped by the Hindus and using the image on a swimwear line offended the sensitivities and the religious sentiments" of Hindus.
"The concerned company was rightly advised and has withdrawn the line and that issue is settled because by doing so, sensitivity on this matter and the religious sentiments have been respected."