4:34 pm - Saturday October 18, 4347

India anger at ‘rape’ fashion shoot

An Indian fashion shoot showing a woman being groped on a bus has caused anger, with social media users saying it glamorises the 2012 Delhi gang rape.

rape1Photographer Raj Shetye’s images show a model fighting off men on a bus, in a scene reminiscent of the rape and murder that shocked India.

Many social media users said they found the photos “disgusting” and “horrible”.

Mr Shetye said the shoot was “just a depiction of the situation of women in our country” and not based on the rape.

The photos were taken down from the Behance site after angry reactions on Twitter and Facebook.

The gang rape and murder of the 23-year-old physiotherapy student – dubbed Nirbhaya (fearless) by the media – led to days of protests and forced the authorities to introduce tough new anti-rape laws.

Four men were sentenced to death. A fifth, a juvenile at the time of the crime, is serving a three-year sentence.

‘Disgusting, insensitive’

Mr Shetye, a Mumbai-based photographer, published his photofeature The Wrong Turn last week, prompting widespread criticism on social media.

“Did I just see a fashion-spread depicting the Delhi gang rape of Nirbhaya? Disgusting! I hope all associated, die of shame! Insensitive swine!,” Bollywood music director Vishal Dadlani tweeted. “Whoever you are… I hope you go to jail for this,” he added.

Actor Amrita Puri tweeted: “Rape is not inspiration for a fashion shoot. I don’t know what the photographer was thinking doing an editorial shoot inspired by Nirbhaya.”

“Raj Shetye, photographer, came up with a bus-rape inspired shoot. How much lower before we hit hell?” wrote Ceteris Paritosh on Twitter:

Myra called it “beyond disgusting” and said the photo shoot “Trivialises Sexual Assault Through ‘The Wrong Turn’.

Mr Shetye did not immediately respond to BBC attempts to contact him, but in a report published on BuzzFeed.com on Tuesday, he denied that he had attempted to recreate the infamous gang rape.

“It is not based on Nirbhaya,” he said. “But being a part of society and being a photographer, that topic moves me from inside… I stay in a society where my mother, my girlfriend, my sister are out there and something like this can happen to them also.”

Mr Shetye said he was not trying to “glamorise the act, which was very bad”.

“It’s just a way of throwing light on it,” he said, adding that it could happen to anyone, rich or poor.

He said the clothes worn by the models had all been made by top designers, but none had been credited publicly because the shoot was not for commercial gain.