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India Cancels Tv Program

February 13, 1986| From Associated Press

NEW DELHI, India — The broadcast of a scheduled U.S. television documentary critical of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was canceled last week on instructions from members of the governing Congress Party, newspapers reported Tuesday.

"Rajiv's India," a film made by syndicated columnist Jack Anderson, was scheduled to be shown on state-run television last Friday. It was taken off the air shortly before broadcast "due to unforeseen circumstances," a government announcement said then.

But the influential Times of India and other newspapers reported that the film was canceled because members of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's Congress party objected to criticism of his mother's policies.

The film accuses Mrs. Gandhi of authoritarian rule during India's 1975-77 emergency period. It also discussed problems of poverty, indentured laborers and burning of brides by dowry-greedy in-laws.

Mrs. Gandhi was assassinated by two of her Sikh bodyguards on Oct. 31, 1984.

"Reports have it that the film was canceled following protests . . . by some Congress leaders. If this is in fact the case it reflects very poorly on how decisions are taken," a Times editorial said Tuesday.

The film was broadcast Jan. 7 on U.S. television stations and later in parts of Europe.

Its producer, Barbara Newman, said she had agreed to cut out certain parts dealing with Hindu-Sikh strife, which Indian officials said would aggravate tensions. But she said the cancellation came as a surprise.

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