Pictures of Rihanna’s lingerie photoshoot with a supporter of Ganesha caused a sensation in India.
Pop icon Rihanna was accused of mocking a Hindu god after she was pictured topless with a pendant of Ganesha around her neck.
Pictures of the lingerie photo shoot that made waves in India came just weeks after Rihanna angered the Indian government by commenting on the giant farmers’ protests.
The latest tweet to the superstar’s more than 100 million Twitter followers is part of the promotion for Rihanna’s lingerie line Savage X Fenty.
The photo was also shared on her Instagram account, which has 91.4 million followers.
Social media users and politicians in India said their post was “derogatory”, accusing them of disrespecting Hindu gods and offending local sentiments.
“It is appalling to see @Rihanna shamefully mock our beloved Hindu god #Ganesha,” tweeted Ram Kadam, a lawmaker for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu Nationalist Party. “This shows that #Rihanna has no idea or no respect for Indian culture, tradition and our problems here.”
The right-wing World Hindu Council said it had filed police complaints against Facebook and Twitter for hosting the image and called for action against Rihanna’s social media accounts.
Several followers on Rihanna’s social media accounts questioned her fashion statement.
“You wear a deity chain and a murthi [image of a deity] my culture, which has already been adequately appropriated culturally in recent years, ”said one supporter.
“How is that okay when a person has more than enough resources to at least figure out the meaning and place of the necklaces and pendants on their neck?”
Ganesha is highly revered in Hinduism and is said to be worshiped in temples or at home in shrines.
Some Hindus wear Ganesha pendants as a symbol of their belief, but they do not adorn them as fashion accessories.
Earlier this month, tweets from Rihanna and other celebrities about protests by farmers in India against new agricultural laws sparked anger at the Indian Foreign Ministry, which described their comments as “sensational”.
Critics say Hindu nationalism is on the rise in officially secular India under Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.