Sixteen women stormed a showroom Tuesday and smeared cow dung and coal tar on furniture, locks and soaps made by sponsors of next month’s Miss World beauty pageant.
City Police Commissioner Sharat Chandra Burman said officers arrested the women, who believe the pageant demeans women and mainly benefits cosmetics companies.
The demonstrators carried patties of dried cow dung soaked in kerosene into the showroom in this southern city, apparently intending to set the goods on fire. They shouted slogans against the contest and smeared goods on sale with fresh cow dung and coal tar.
Many Indians believe the international contest, to be held in this southern city next month, is degrading to women and runs counter to the Indian distaste for skimpy clothes. Earlier threats prompted the organizers to move the swimsuit competition to the Seychelles, a group of islands off the east coast of Africa.
A spokesman for the Godrej company, one of the pageant’s main sponsors, said the firm had taken no measures to protect the showroom against an attack.