Terrorists tied to India film biz

NEW DELHI, India — Investigations into last month’s serial bombings in Bombay have exposed reputed links between Muslim terrorists and the world’s largest film industry.

“Bollywood,” as the industry in Bombay is known, has been badly discredited following the arrest this month of a top Indian film star and two leading producers.

In another setback, police on Wednesday raided the home of a popular Indian actress, Mandakini, who is reported to be the lover of a Muslim underworld kingpin.

The gang lord, Dawood Ibrahim, is a key suspect in the March 12 bombings that killed more than 300 people across Bombay, India’s financial center and movie capital.

Boycott organized

On Thursday, Film Makers’ Combine, a producers’ organization that makes 900 Hindi-language films a year, decided to boycott any artist “charged with indulging in anti-national activities,” said Anil Nagrath, the group’s secretary.

“The whole industry is being maligned because of activities of one or two people,” Nagrath said.

Bombay’s $ 320 million film industry is still recovering from huge financial losses caused by the Hindu-Muslim riots that paralyzed Bombay in December and January.

More than 1,200 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in the clashes following the Dec. 6 demolition of an ancient Muslim mosque by Hindu fanatics in the northern city of Ayodhya.

The arrests have brought into public scrutiny the close association that has long been reported between Bombay’s Muslim-dominated underworld and its film actors and directors. Ibrahim and his associates also are believed to have financed many films.

Nagrath said about 5% to 10% of the money used to make films in Bombay is financed by the underworld. But independent estimates put the figure as high as 50%.

The raid on actress Mandakini’s home followed the arrest on Monday of Sunjay Dutt, a top Bombay film star, for illegal possession of an AK-56 assault rifle reportedly purchased from suspects in the Bombay bombing.

Earlier, police arrested producers Hanif Kadawala and Samir Hingora for suspected financial links with Ibrahim.

Dutt’s arrest has stalled several films he was making. Many theaters in India also dropped his movies after protests organized by Hindu extremist groups.

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