MF Husain`s sand sculpture destroyed in Allahabad

Allahabad: Even as intellectuals, celebrities and art lovers continue to mourn the death of MF Husain, unidentified men here Friday destroyed the sand sculpture created by an Uttar Pradesh artist to pay tribute to the `Picasso of India`.

RK Chitera, 26, a famous sand artist, was not allowed to complete Husain`s eight-ft-long sand sculpture along the bank of the Ganga river.

"While a group watched me from a distance, two-three men ran towards me and destroyed the sculpture by their feet. It all took place when I was about to finish the sculpture," Chitera told reporters in Allahabad, some 200 km from Lucknow.

"I don`t know who they were... They even threatened me of dire consequences if I organised any programme to pay homage to the great Indian artist," Chitera added.

Husain died in London Thursday at the age of 95.

When contacted, Superintendent of Police (City) SS Baghel told reporters that the police do not know about the incident. But they "will definitely inquire about it and ensure the sand artist faces no problem".

Husain was forced to leave India in 2006 after his paintings of Hindu gods in the nude triggered attacks on his works and police complaints were filed against him by radical Hindu organisations.

"I do admit that Husainji invited several controversies, but they can`t take away his great contributions to the art. An artist can spend his entire life in learning his work," said Chitera, who had earlier created a 1,500-ft-long painting of batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar by working non-stop for 38 hours.