By Vivien von Drehnen and Mitch Sabine

Indian activists in Punjab have reacted to the display of Hindu goddess Lakshmi on swimwear at Fashion Week in Sydney by burning the Australian flag.

The design by Lisa Blue Swimwear featured a print of Lakshmi on both the top and bottom of a bikini.

Australian Flag
Photo: Kahunapule Michael Johnson / Flickr

Blue has since released an apology, saying the brand never intended to offend Hindus.

Members of the right-wing Hindu organisation Shiv Sena held photocopies of the swimsuit as they protested over the Australian design.

President of the Federation of Australian Indians Association, Vish Riswanathren says while the design is inappropriate, burning the flag is simply unacceptable.

“The action is understandable, but I won’t accept the burning of the flag,” Mr Riswanathren said.

Kritika Bansal, president of the Cultural Society of India Brisbane, also says burning the flag is wrong.

“They shouldn’t actually burn the flag, but ask for an apology and do it in a calm way,” Ms Bansal said.

 Mr Riswanathren said Blue’s apology, which addresses the seriousness of the situation to the Hindu community, was a wise and necessary move.