New Delhi: The Catholic Church in India Friday banned in all its member schools a New Delhi-based publisher for printing pictures of Jesus Christ holding a cigarette in one hand and a beer can in another in a book for primary classes in Meghalaya.
Skyline Publication in the national capital published the pictures in the cursive handwriting exercise books for students of Class 1.
"The CBCI has written to all its member schools across the country to ban this publisher," said Catholic Bishops` Conference of India (CBCI) spokesman Babu Joseph here.
The Church also asked the government to take strict action against the publisher and ban such objectionable publications from all schools.
"The book published by Skyline Publishers where Jesus Christ is caricatured with a cigarette in one hand and a beer can in another is a case of total disregard for religious sentiments of the Christian community," Joseph told a news agency.
"Jesus Christ as a divine person is central to Christian faith and Christian life. The misguided attempt to tarnish the image of Jesus Christ is highly objectionable and even a condemnable act," he said.
Joseph said: "This particular incident is contrary to the very spirit of religious tolerance and harmony in a country like India where we respect each others` religious symbols."
"The government should take strict action against the publisher so that it becomes a deterrent for others doing similar things," he said.
The Meghalaya government has already confiscated all copies of the book from a school where it was being used and also from book shops.