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NEW DELHI — Oprah Winfrey‘s visit Thursday to the northern Indian holy city of Vrindavan (about 90 miles from the capital, Delhi) ended up making news for all the wrong reasons.
Reports surfaced indicating that some of the talk show’s bodyguards were involved in a scuffle with Indian journalists who were covering her visit.
Winfrey landed Monday in Mumbai for her first trip to India, where a glittering Bollywood party was thrown in her honor. Winfrey’s agenda during her visit to the country, which ends Sunday, includes shooting segments for her show Oprah’s Next Chapter in addition to another special, India Experience.
On Thursday morning, Winfrey arrived in Vrindavan — a holy city near Mathura, the birthplace of the Hindu god Krishna — and went to visit Ma Dham, an ashram for widows. While at the site, Winfrey and her accompanying TV crew filmed a documentary on widows and also took part in prayer.
But according to reports, when the waiting journalists tried to enter the Ma Dham ashram, they faced resistance from Winfrey’s security detail, which included two American and a dozen Indian bodyguards sourced from a local security agency.
“Media men and those from TV channels with cameras were manhandled by those in charge of security of Oprah Winfrey and police had to intervene,” said a journalist from a Hindi daily on Friday according to the Hindustan Times newspaper.
According to reports, three of Winfrey’s Indian bodyguards were arrested following the incident, in which some video cameras allegedly were broken. Following a complaint filed by media personnel, the police confirmed that no one was injured in the incident. The bodyguards were later released after writing a letter of apology to the media, according to police authorities.
“There were some complaints from local media about the high-handed attitude of security men accompanying Winfrey, but the matter was amicably resolved,” Mathura senior superintendent of police Prem Gautam said.
The scuffle apparently delayed Winfrey’s arrival in Agra, home of the Taj Mahal and about an hour’s drive from Vrindavan. Winfrey spent more than an hour at the Taj, where her camera crew also shot scenes for her show.
“Philosophers and writers have described the beauty of the Taj Mahal, but I don’t have words for it,” Winfrey later told reporters. Her visit received mainstream coverage and was seen on English-language Indian news channel News X.
On Friday, Winfrey will be at the Jaipur Literature Festival, where she is expected to tape a segment of Next Chapter with renowned New Age author Deepak Chopra.
Watch video of the scuffle below.
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