India and Pakistan come together

India and Pakistan have been trying to come together ever since the separation in 1947. After two or three declared wars and countless undeclared ones, the chill of Kashmir politics has refused to warm up the relationship between the two countries. We even tried cricket diplomacy (what a big farce!). When cricket failed, both countries went nuclear - hoping nuclear warmth would bring them together... oh well.

Whilst India enjoys a democratic status, Pakistan's democracy dreams drown in the fact that they are an Islamic state.

In spite of all the differences, when it comes to right-wing politics - they are the same on both sides of the border.

Pakistan's minister of tourism Nilofar Bakhtiar gave a hug to her French parachute jumping instructor only to receive a fatwa: "Two clerics said the hug was ``an illegitimate and forbidden act'' and ``without any doubt, she has committed a great sin.''

On the other side of the border, Shilpa 'Big Brother' Shetty (Even Geof Boycott thinks she is sexy!) found herself under the morality microscope. It is not the RSS or the Shiv Sena which got upset... believe it or not, it was a Judicial Magistrate (in the democratic republic of India!)

Jaipur chief judicial magistrate, Dinesh Gupta, ordered the arrest of Hollywood star Richard Gere for a public act of kissing at an AIDS awareness show. Gere kissed Shilpa Shetty (Poor Boycs!)

The Hindu reports:

Arrest warrant for Richard Gere

Special Correspondent

JAIPUR : A city court here issued an arrest warrant against Hollywood actor Richard Gere on Thursday and asked film actress Shilpa Shetty to appear before it on May 5 in connection with a case of kissing in public. Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Dinesh Gupta gave the orders on a complaint filed by a lawyer that the two actors kissed at an AIDS awareness campaign event in New Delhi recently and this amounted to ``indecent representation of sexual activities'' at a public place.

Both Richard Gere and Shilpa Shetty have been named accused under Sections 294 (doing obscene act at public place) and 34 (act done in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. The offence is punishable with three months' imprisonment, a fine or both and is bailable.

The Magistrate, who subpoenaed video footage of the episode last week, observed that the demeanour of the two actors was ``highly sexually erotic'' and ``transgressed all limits of decency with the potential to corrupt society.'' The court cited complainant Poonam Chand Bhandari's contention that Shilpa Shetty's attitude was ``cooperative'' and that she did not resist. The court felt that Shilpa Shetty was involved in an unlawful action that ``denigrated Indian culture, traditions and social values and offended people's sensibilities.''

Pointing out that Richard Gere was a foreigner and could leave India any time, Mr. Gupta directed the Superintendent of Police (headquarter), Jaipur, to arrest him immediately and produce him in the court. As for Shilpa Shetty, the court requested a Metropolitan Magistrate in Mumbai to serve the summons to ensure her presence on May 5.
In Pakistan a hug is a SIN and in India it is about offending people's sensibilities. Wish I could issue a fatwa or a court order - giving freedom to all men and women to express their emotions peacefully.

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