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Shilpa Shetty case: Will the govt step in?

January 18, 2007 00:41 IST

Priyaranjan Dasmunshi, minister for information and broadcasting and minister for parliamentary affairs, told newsmen in New Delhi on Wednesday evening that he has written a letter to External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and requested him to ask the Indian high commission in London to verify the facts about the Shilpa Shetty case.

"It would not be proper for me to comment. This matter would be dealt with by the MEA," he said in response to a question whether the government of India is taking up the matter with the UK government about the treatment meted out to Shilpa in Celebrity Big Brother, a reality show.

"This is an agreement between the actress and the private television channel. We would request Bollywood personalities to inform the appropriate desk of MEA before taking up such assignments," he said.

Two participants of the reality show are said to have made racist comments against Shilpa and run her down. The story appeared in British newspapers as well and MP Keith Vaz has raised the issue in the House of Commons.

Dasmunshi said that if Shilpa felt that Indian women and India as a nation have been insulted, she should pull out of the programme.

The minister also announced a ban of AXN channel till March 15, 2007 for broadcasting a programme called 'The sexist advertisments' despite the Cable Channel Act prohibition on the telecast of such programmes.

The minister told newsmen that two news channels Sahara and IBN 7 had tendered apologies for showing an offensive clip of Mahatma Gandhi. He said that the IT ministry was contemplating taking action against the concerned that had carried the original version.

Onkar Singh in New Delhi