Top Indian Artist Offered Sanctuary in Qatar

Renowned Indian artist MF Husain, under attack from hardline Hindus for his paintings of nude Hindu goddesses, has been offered Qatari nationality. The artist made the announcement in The Hindu newspaper. It is not clear whether he will accept the honour. Since 2006, 95-year-old Mr Husain has been living in Dubai and in London. The Hindu said that his "impending change of nationality brings to a close one of the sorriest chapters in independent India's secular history". Correspondents say that Mr Husain - who has been forced to flee the country - is one of India's most pre-eminent artists. In 2006 he apologised for a painting in which he represented the country as a nude goddess. In the mid-1990s there were huge protests in Mumbai (Bombay) after he painted a whole series of nude Hindu goddesses. Hindu nationalist groups accused the artist of hurting their religious sentiments and defiling their religion.