India outraged by racist bullying of Shilpa Shetty -
Reports of the alleged mistreatment of Shetty, 31, were splashed on the front pages of several Indian dailies and was also the top story on television news, which repeatedly showed clips from the show of the weeping actress."We are awaiting a report about the show. The government will take appropriate measures once it gets to know the full details," Anand Sharma, India's junior Minister for External Affairs told journalists in New Delhi yesterday."The world knows that India has always rejected all forms of discrimination and racism," Sharma added. Shetty, a former model, who has acted in over 40 movies since her 1993 debut, was repeatedly reduced to tears by a fellow contestant Jade Goody at the reality TV show, who has called the actress "cooking untrustworthy," and mocked her accent. Producers of the reality TV show too have vowed to clamp down on racist abuse on the programme, following the row over the treatment meted out to the Indian actress. However, Indian officials believe that if the situation was so serious that it made the Bollywood starlet burst into tears, then she should have spoken out against it rather than choosing to keep quiet. AP adds: Prime Minister Tony Blair on Wednesday was drawn into a growing furore over the television reality show, saying he opposes racism but had not seen the programme.Keith Vaz, a member of the House of Commons, asked Blair whether broadcasters should take care not to transmit such material."I have not seen the particular programme in question and cannot comment on it,” Blair said.However, he added, "We should oppose racism in all its forms.”The Indian government has raised concerns about the programme.A surge in complaints Tuesday followed a programme in which another contestant, former member of the band S Club 7 Jo O’Meara, said Indians were thin because they undercooked their food. Reports of Shetty’s treatment ran on front pages of several Indian papers Wednesday and was the top story on the television news, which repeatedly showed clips from the show of the weeping actress.In London, the Foreign Office said it had not received any communication from the Indian government about the programme, nor had the British High Commission in New Delhi. It may be noted that Big Brother pits contestants against each other in a battle to stay on the set, a specially constructed house peppered with microphones and cameras.Celebrities taking part in the show include pop star Michael Jackson's brother, Jermaine.