Rebels bar Kashmiris from TV show
20 February 2007
The Daily Times
Srinagar: A rebel group in Indian-held Kashmir has warned young people in the region not to audition for the hugely popular television show Indian Idol or face harsh punishment. No leniency will be shown to anyone trying out for the show, a spokesman for the al Madina Regiment, which has claimed responsibility for suicide and other attacks in Kashmir, told the local Current News Service late on Monday. Sony Entertainment Television had said earlier it would hold an audition on Wednesday for singers in Srinagar, summer capital of Indian-held Kashmir. Sony is looking for that one voice that will be the pride of the nation, a television advertisement said. But the rebel outfit, which authorities believe is an offshoot of Lashkar-e-Taiba group, told youngsters not to participate in the talent hunt. These shows are just displays of vulgarity, said group spokesman Sadiq. The programme which draws massive television ratings across India is a variation of the US programme American Idol and offers winners a shot at stardom. There was no immediate comment available from Sony on the threat. The rebels have closed down all cinema halls and liquor shops in the region since 1989, when the freedom struggle was launched. The revolt has left tens of thousands of people dead since.