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Friday, April 27, 2007

Indian Police Wants To Arrest Richard Gere For Kissing Indian Woman

Last Updated: Friday, 27 April 2007, 08:25 GMT 09:25 UK
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Gere faces Indian arrest warrant
Richard Gere and Shilpa Shetty
Photographs of the embrace made the front pages in India
An Indian court has issued an arrest warrant for Hollywood actor Richard Gere after he kissed Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty in public.

Gere, 57, kissed Shetty, 31, several times on the cheek at an Aids awareness event in Delhi earlier this month.

The court in Jaipur in Rajasthan state called it "an obscene act", after a local lawyer filed a complaint.

Gere, who is a frequent visitor to India, told a US TV show that he expected the case to be thrown out.

Speaking on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, the actor dismissed the situation as "nothing".

"There is a very small right-wing, very conservative political party in India and they are the moral police in India... they do this kind of thing quite often," he said.

Shetty, who found fame outside India as the winner of Celebrity Big Brother in the UK, has also been asked to appear before the court.

Bigger issue

But her spokesman, Dale Bhagwager, said the actress had not received any court order or summons and was currently away visiting temples.

He said Shetty had not done anything wrong.

"What is there to comment? They were three innocent, natural cute pecks on the cheek," said Mr Bhagwager.

"What can one say, when three pecks can be made into an issue in the land of the Kama Sutra? People should concentrate on the bigger issue of Aids, rather than this."

Dance scene

Photographs of the clinch were splashed across front pages of newspapers in India.

Public displays of affection are still largely taboo in India, and protestors in Mumbai (Bombay) set fire to effigies of Gere following the incident.

Shetty has defended Gere saying that it was all done "in good humour".

"He especially told me to tell the media that he didn't want to hurt any Indian sensibilities," she said.

She said Gere had only been re-enacting a scene from his film Shall We Dance.

Under Indian law, a person convicted of public obscenity faces up to three months in prison, a fine or both.

Gere, star of films such as Chicago and Pretty Woman, is a Buddhist and travels to India frequently to visit the Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in the north of the country.

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