Liberal Grace

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Arrest warrant for Richard Gere kiss.

Foreign investment: Good. Foreigners?: Vulgar criminals who should be locked up.

I would have arrested Gere for "Dr T and his Women" but it was a kiss of Shilpa Shetty that's going to land him in the slammer.

Arrest warrants for Gere and Shilpa over kiss

New Delhi: An Indian court issued arrest warrants for Hollywood actor Richard Gere and Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty yesterday, saying their kiss at a public function "transgressed all limits of vulgarity," media reports said.

Judge Dinesh Gupta issued the warrants in the northwestern city of Jaipur after a local citizen filed a complaint charging that the public display of affection offended local sensibilities, the Press Trust of India reported.

Gupta earlier viewed television footage of the event, which he called "highly sexually erotic," saying the pair violated India's strict public obscenity laws.

Shetty, who is currently on a religious pilgrimage in southern India, was upset by the news, said her spokesman Dale Bhagwagar. "She does hurt, she does feel low."
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It looks like Elizabeth Hurley might also be making chapattis for a few years in an Indian jail.

Hurley's Indian wedding an insult, Hindus tell court

JODHPUR (AFP) - An Indian court will this week hear testimony that British model Elizabeth Hurley and her husband Arun Nayar mocked Hindu traditions with their "showcase" wedding, a laywer said Tuesday.

A decision whether the glamorous couple should be prosecuted in the desert city of Jodhpur -- where they wed a month ago but may now risk jail -- could come as early as next week, said lawyer Hastimal Saraswat.

The pair staged a lavish ceremony at a Rajasthan fort that was exclusively covered by celebrity magazine Hello!, which reportedly paid two million pounds (3.9 million dollars) for the rights.

But after seeing the pictures in the magazine, an angry Jodhpur resident hired Saraswat to take legal action.

"Liz Hurley and Arun Nayar insulted Hindu tradition and I want them to be severely punished," Vishnu Khandelwal, a devout Hindu who runs a printing press, told AFP Tuesday.

The court has already heard from two witnesses, including Khandelwal, and will hear testimony from at least three more, including a Hindu priest, said lawyer Saraswat.

Khandelwal said he was upset when he saw Hurley and Nayar had taken alcohol prior to the religious rites and kissed near the sacred fire that Hindus hold to be the witness to the marriage.

"They sat on a sofa and they were supposed to sit on the floor," Khandelwal added.

His petition to the court -- which will decide whether or not to prosecute -- also pointed out that Hurley wore leather footwear near the fire, in a land that worships the cow.

"Liz and Nayar had already married in Christian tradition. In spite of this to make a profit they did a showcase marriage in Jodhpur," said Khandelwal.

The couple wed at an English castle prior to heading east for their Indian nuptials.

The bride's own father-in-law is considering testifying against the couple in the case, the lawyer said.

Vinod Nayar told Sunday tabloids in Britain he had severed ties with his son after the younger Nayar ejected him from the marriage proceedings at Hurley's behest.

"He is very upset with Liz," said Saraswat. "He has told us that if you need help in court I will give it."

The petition was filed under section 295 A of the Indian Penal Code, which makes it an offence punishable by three years in jail to "outrage" any group's religion with "deliberate and malicious intention."
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Seriously, this is an excellent example of the limits of Indian globalization. The want to be at the center of the "flat world" but I expect their classism, xenophobia and provincialism are going to put limits on that goal. I doubt that India is ready to accept the world with all its vulgarities.

2 comment(s):

Enough of your snarks. Why not just say you don't like Indians?

We Indians still like Mr Gere. In fact no more than a few dozen people at a time took to the streets burning Mr Gere’s effigies and in only four different towns. I am sure you know that India is a country of about a billion people with hundreds of such towns. There were hundreds of people present in the audience when this kissing took place. None of them including Ms Shetty cared about it. Hardly anyone does now.

The judge who issued this warrant works out of a court in small town India and not out of ‘ New Delhi ‘. The lawyer who filed this suit is notorious for filing about fifty similar suits in the past and thus clogging the system. This is not the first time a Public Interest Litigation ( PIL ) application in India has been abused. In a similarly ridiculous attempt, a lawyer had sued a famous cricketer for eating beef! I can assure you no one in India has or will ever go to jail for either eating beef or for kissing someone. This is what Soli Sorabjee, former Attorney General of India had to say about Gere’s warrant - “The order is ridiculous. Even if this hugging and kissing was a bit vulgar, it does not amount to obscenity.”

“They are just seeking publicity,” he said.

Another senior lawyer called the order “an act of judicial indecency.”

“This is only for cheap publicity and the magistrate and lawyer should be restrained,” Dushyant Dave told the Times of India newspaper.

The legal community in India has in fact slammed this warrant.

I am saddened that the American media is sensationalizing this incident by using headlines screaming - ” The Kiss that Shocked India ” or ” Protests Rock India “. Why should the great majority of Indians be made to look retrograde for the actions of a few rascals?

By the way have you checked out the Kingfisher Swimsuit Calendar from last year? It’s India’s answer to the famous Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition; only the Indian models are less modestly clothed!

By Anonymous, at 8:47 AM  

Thanks for the comments. It's important to know that many Indians are tolerant of foreign ways.

I understand that many Indians have no trouble with the kiss. My own newspaper ran a bunch of letters to the editor today, saying just that.

However, as long as foreigners can get arrested in India for acting like foreigners, this is going to limit India's role as a leader of globalization. I believe that acceptance and understanding of foreign ways is an essential societal prerequisite to lead in globalization.

Do you disagree with that?

>> Enough of your snarks. Why not just say you don't like Indians?

Why? Because I don't hate Indians! Indians are the main community I relate to here in Dubai. Perhaps that's why I can critizise them without a larger condemnation.

BTW... as India becomes a world leader, (as I believe it will) it will save you a lot of grief if you can accept criticism without framing it as an issue of not liking you.

I've lived in India and heard endless criticism of America but I just accepted it, figuring its the price you pay to be citizen of a leading country. I even accepted some of the criticism as being correct or at lease partially so.

By LiberalGrace, at 11:59 PM  

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