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Friday, January 19, 2007
'Come back, Shilpa'
Even as the Shilpa Shetty episode boiled over, the Bollywood star's mother Sunanda Shetty wanted her daughter to rush back home. The senior Shetty has said that she wished her daughter would stop enduring what she said was racist abuse on the British reality TV programme "Big Brother" and quit the show.

Allegations of racist abuse meted out to Shilpa Shetty by fellow contestants on the Celebrity Big Brother show had forced India to ask the British government to check if race laws have broken. The issue has boiled over to being a bilateral problem.

It has been reported that the 31-year-old svelte Shilpa was repeatedly reduced to tears, called names, had her accent mocked and insulted by some of her fellow housemates who appeared to gang up on her. According to some reports, housemate Danielle Lloyd even said: "Shilpa should f*** off home. She can't even speak English".

This is more than Sunanda Shetty can digest. A visibly fuming Sunanda told the media on Thursday that "as a person I wouldn't have tolerated it. I would have walked out." Adding that Shilpa is more tolerant, she said she thinks that the show is not more important that self-respect."

Justifying India's reaction, Sunanda Shetty said that the people of India care about their country and their culture. "Shilpa is representing her country and she has been extremely dignified and gracious with her housemates", she added.

Meanwhile the broadcaster, Channel 4, has clarified that that Shilpa Shetty was not subjected to racial abuse but that there had been a culture and class clash. The episode has triggered more reactions. The latest came from Carphone Warehouse, Europe's biggest mobile phone retailer. The company suspended sponsorship of the programme because it did not want its name associated with claims of racist bullying.

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