‘Shocking’ photoshoot stirs anger in India

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IOL pic may14 anti-rape protests india AFP A demonstrator (right) holds a placard during an anti-rape rally in New Delhi, India. File picture: Sajjad Hussain

New Delhi - An Indian photographer has sparked outrage with a fashion shoot that depicts a woman being harassed on a bus by a group of men, echoing a fatal gang-rape that shocked the nation.

The project by Raj Shetye called “The Wrong Turn” appeared in his online portfolio in recent days before being taken down, according to media reports on Wednesday, but the photographs have been carried by various other media outlets, including the website Buzzfeed.

They show a female model in high-end fashion looking harassed on a bus in various poses.

In one image, she is on the floor with a man standing over her. Another image shows her struggling with two men gripping her arms, and in another, two men pin her down on the seats.

Shetye told Buzzfeed that the shoot was not based on the fatal gang-rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi in December 2012, which sparked outrage across India over levels of sexual violence against women.

“But being a part of society and being a photographer, that topic moves me from inside,” he said.

“I stay in a society where my mother, my girlfriend, my sister are out there and something like this can happen to them also.”

Mumbai-based Shetye could not be reached by AFP to comment on the story.

The parallels in the photoshoot drew anger on social media, with Twitter users describing the images as “shocking”, “disgusting” and “mind boggling”.

The 2012 attack saw a gang of six rape a 23-year-old physiotherapy student after she was tricked into boarding a private bus on the way home from the cinema with a male friend.

The woman died 13 days after the attack from her injuries, after being airlifted to a Singapore hospital for specialist treatment.

“This is in no way meant to glamourise the act, which was very bad,” Shetye told BuzzFeed by telephone.

“It's just a way of throwing light on it.”

The 2012 attack shone a global spotlight on India's treatment of women and led to tougher laws to deter rapists, although frequent reports of attacks continue to emerge. - AFP

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