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#Debate?: Photographer defends Nirbhaya-inspired fashion shoot as Hindu woman is gang-raped, forced to convert to Islam

An Indian photographer has angrily denied using the gang rape of young student on a Delhi bus in 2012 as the theme for a fashion shoot.

Mumbai-based Raj Shetye caused outrage across Social Media networks on Wednesday after photographs showing several glamorous models fending off the advances of sharply-dressed men appeared in Shetye’s own website.

The series of images, titled ‘The Wrong Turn’, sparked anger on Twitter and Facebook with dozens of people – including celebrities – denouncing Shetye for “glamorizing” the horrific attack.

Acclaimed Bollywood  composer Vishal Dadlani tweeted: “Did i just see a fashion-spread depicting the Delhi gangrape of Nirbhaya? Disgusting!I hope all associated, die of shame! Insensitive swine!”

Shetye defended the images saying it was an attempt to “create art that will gather some reaction in society”.

He added that idea for the photographs came to him two years ago – the Delhi rape took place in December 2012 – but he decided to postpone doing the shoot because he “didn’t want to create something irresponsible.”

Shetye also clarified that while the clothes worn by the models are all made by “top designers”, none of them have been credited publicly because the intent of this shoot is not commercial gain.

The case of ‘Nirbhaya’ – the name initially given to the Delhi gang-rape victim by the Indian media – continues to resonate in India.

The woman – later named as 23-year-old physiotherapy student Jyoti Singh Pandey – was brutally raped by five men after she and her male companion were lured on to an empty bus after the couple had been to watch a movie in the Indian capital.

She died ten days later from her injuries in a hospital in Singapore where she had been sent in a desperate effort to save her life.

The case sparked a massive debate within India about the position of women in the country and continued attacks on women.

As Shetye’s images caused outrage, a Hindu woman from Uttar Pradesh alleged that she had been kidnapped, gang-raped and forced to convert to Islam at a Madrassa in the city of Meerut.

The woman, who taught English and Hindi at the madrassa, alleged that four or five Muslim men kidnapped her from her home in a village on July 30.

They took her to the madrassa in the adjoining town of Hapur, forcibly converted her to Islam and gave her a Muslim name, she said.

She was then dressed in a veil and moved by her captors to a third madrassa in nearby Muzaffarnagar and gang-raped for three days, she told the police.

She claimed to have met some 20 other women in the madrassa who were also being held captive. Police raided the seminary on Monday and said they had found no captives.

Additional security forces have been deployed in the city, just 45 miles from the capital Delhi, amid fears that the incident will lead to communal riots.

According to reports, Hindu mobs have gathered in the city as police continue to investigate the woman’s claims.

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