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New Delhi acts in Shilpa racism row

India has asked Britain to check whether race laws had been broken in the reported bullying of Indian film star Shilpa Shetty on a British reality TV show as her admirers burned effigies of the alleged abusers.

  • Agencies
  • Published: 00:00 January 18, 2007
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AP
  • Fans of Shilpa Shetty shout slogans against organisers of Celebrity Big Brother, in Patna, India. The poster at right reads "Apologise to Shilpa for the bad treatment".

Mumbai: India asked Britain yesterday to check whether race laws had been broken in the reported bullying of Indian film star Shilpa Shetty on a British reality TV show as her admirers burned effigies of the alleged abusers.

Almost 20,000 British viewers of Celebrity Big Brother have complained Shetty, 31, has been subjected to racist abuse on the show, prompting an investigation into the charges by British media watchdog Ofcom.

“The Government of India has taken up the matter with the British Government through the British High Commission in New Delhi for addressing it in accordance with British laws,'' a statement from India's foreign ministry said last night.

India's Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi told reporters Shetty should give the facts to the Indian High Commission in London, while admirers protested in the Patna, burning straw effigies of housemates.
Britain's prime-minister-in-waiting Gordon Brown, on a visit to India, told reporters he had heard about viewers' complaints. “I want Britain to be seen as a country of fairness and tolerance ... and anything that detracts from that, I condemn.''

A spokesman for Britain's Prime Minister said Tony Blair had not seen the programme but the incident was regrettable. London Mayor Ken Livingstone also blasted “racism'' towards Shilpa.

Channel Four TV denied yesterday there had been any overt racist abuse directed against Shilpa. But it admitted there had been a “cultural and class clash'' between the star and some of her British housemates and pledged to clamp down on “unambiguous'' racism.

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