Thiruvananthapuram: The state-run Kerala Lalitha Kala Academi on Monday (June 17) rejected the Left government’s advice to review the award given to cartoonist KK Subhas.

Following protests in different parts of Kerala by Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference (KCBC), the state government asked the Kerala Lalitha Kala Academi to re-examine the decision to honour the award-winning cartoon which depicts the image of former Bishop Franco Mulakkal.

Mulakkal is accused of raping a Kerala nun multiple times between 2014 and 2016. The cartoon shows the holy stick carrying undergarments on it.

After a council meeting of the Academy, an autonomous body under the state department of cultural affairs, chairman Nemom Pushparaj said the Academy's executive and the council have unanimously decided not to review the jury’s decision to choose the cartoon for the award.

KCBC questioned the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government whether they were taking ‘revenge’ on the community after the CPI(M) lost majority of the seats in the recent Lok Sabha election. The politicisation of the incident, along with the inherent religious sentiments of many associated with it have made the situation tense.

Kerala's culture minister AK Balan, after examining the cartoon, accepted that it does hurt religious sentiments. However, he said that the state government has no role to play in this claiming that such decisions are taken by an expert committee.

Catholic Church even published rape-accused Mulakkal's photo in a calendar printed by the ‘Catholicasabha’, which is a mouthpiece of the organisation that comes under the Archdiocese of Thrissur.

Meanwhile, veteran CPM leader VS Achuthanandan and CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran had come out against the government’s move.

In a first, five nuns from a convent in Kottayam Kuravilangadu seminary staged a protest on September 8, last year, in front of the Kochi high court against Mulakkal.

On January 16, four out of the five nuns, who staged a protest, received transfer orders.