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Indian director Mahmood Farooqui has been arrested for allegedly raping a U.S. woman of Indian origin, according to local reports Monday.
Farooqui co-directed the acclaimed 2010 film Peepli Live with his wife, Anusha Rizvi. The satire about farmers’ suicides, a big social issue in India, was co-produced by Bollywood star Aamir Khan and was India’s entry to the foreign-language Oscars.
Reports said that the 30-year-old woman said she was raped by Farooqui at his New Delhi home in March, but only reported it to police on Friday. Farooqui was arrested on Saturday.
The Times of India reported a local court ordered Farooqui be kept under judicial custody for 14 days. The report also said the woman was a Ph.D. student in Hindi studies at Columbia University and visited India for a research project. She was introduced to Farooqui by a friend last year, it said.
Meanwhile, Farooqui’s wife released a statement saying the complaint against her husband was “manipulated and false.” She said the couple was “determined to fight this till the reality is presented before the people.”
Crimes against women have caused a bigger social and media uproar in India since the 2012 fatal gang-rape of a young student in New Delhi. The incident was the subject of controversial British documentary India’s Daughter, which was banned by the Indian government.
Another case of a prominent Indian media figure accused of sexual assault occurred in 2013 when well-known editor Tarun Tejpal of New Delhi-based Tehelka magazine was accused by a young female staff member of sexual assault at the magazine’s annual THINK festival in Goa, which featured prominent speakers, including Robert De Niro. The trial is still ongoing.
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