Hindus protest bin Laden film shoot in north India

Tue Mar 6, 2012 5:00pm EST
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CHANDIGARH, India (Reuters) - Hindu radicals in India protested on Friday against the shooting of a film by Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow on the hunt for Osama bin Laden on the grounds that the film-makers were portraying Pakistan on Indian soil.

Bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States was killed by U.S. special forces in Pakistan in May last year.

The film-makers, denied permission to film in Pakistan, converted parts of the Indian city of Chandigarh to look like the Pakistani city of Lahore.

But for right-wing Hindus, the use of India to portray sworn enemy Pakistan was too much.

"They have made Chandigarh like Pakistan, as if it is Pakistan," said Vijay Bhardwaj, a leader of the radical Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) Hindu group.

"We strongly oppose this and we will not let them put Pakistani flags here and we will not let them shoot for the film."

Billboards with Urdu signs were put up on shops in a market in the north Indian city and auto-rickshaws were running with Lahore number plates. Burqa-clad women and men dressed in traditional Pakistani clothes roamed the streets.

The small group of protesters shouted slogans and some of them were seen arguing with cast and crew members as police tried to intervene.

The protesters said the government should have denied permission to make the film on Indian soil.   Continued...

Unidentified cast members are seen at the filming location of the movie "Zero Dark Thirty" in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh March 6, 2012. The film, directed by Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow, is based on the hunt for Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. REUTERS/Ajay Verma