Church not backing Catholic group's protest over Rin ad

MUMBAI: The Catholic Secular Forum (CSF), a group claiming to represent the community's interests, has come out against the Rin Advanced ad which shows Amitabh Bachchan as the principal of a school dressed in a white cassock asking a student how he keeps his clothes clean.

The CSF, an independent body with no affiliations to any of the state churches, in a complaint to the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), opposed the use of religious figures or characters in advertising, as the forum felt that it trivialised what is essentially a sacred and personal issue.



Meanwhile, Hindustan Lever Ltd approached the Archbishop's office about the protest. Interestingly, the Archbishop of Mumbai's office today has stated that they find nothing objectionable about the ad and the ad does not hurt the Christian sentiment, as was claimed by the CSF.

The CSF had claimed that in the Indian socio-cultural milieu, where religion is a sensitive subject, such disrespect to any faith is the height of irresponsibility.

The body has also stated that it would resort to an agitation and call for a public boycott of Hindustan Lever products, if the advertisement was not immediately withdrawn and an apology issued for hurting the feelings of Catholics.

A point in note here being that in the last two years 48 commercial have been made around religious figures.



Commenting on the issue at hand, HLL's head of corporate communications Paresh Chaudhari states, "It has not been the intention to be disrespectful of any religion or any religious figure in this or any other ad produced by our company. To effectively communicate a brand proposition of superlative whiteness, we needed to use a figure traditionally dressed in white, hence the use of the school principal."

HLL says it has nothing to be concerned about as they have received a clean chit for the highest authority.



Interestingly, the recent agitation against Sins, was also spearheaded by the CSF. Religious sentiment being hurt is always a valid argument. But the question in point here is, it is just one body of people who feel so strongly, or does the Christian community at large feel violated?

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