AFP, April 10, 2007
An Indian court will this week hear testimony that British model Elizabeth Hurley and her husband Arun Nayar mocked Hindu traditions with their “showcase” wedding, a laywer said Tuesday.
A decision whether the glamorous couple should be prosecuted in the desert city of Jodhpurwhere they wed a month ago but may now risk jailcould come as early as next week, said lawyer Hastimal Saraswat.
The pair staged a lavish ceremony at a Rajasthan fort that was exclusively covered by celebrity magazine Hello!, which reportedly paid two million pounds (3.9 million dollars) for the rights.
But after seeing the pictures in the magazine, an angry Jodhpur resident hired Saraswat to take legal action.
“Liz Hurley and Arun Nayar insulted Hindu tradition and I want them to be severely punished,” Vishnu Khandelwal, a devout Hindu who runs a printing press, told AFP Tuesday.
The court has already heard from two witnesses, including Khandelwal, and will hear testimony from at least three more, including a Hindu priest, said lawyer Saraswat.
Khandelwal said he was upset when he saw Hurley and Nayar had taken alcohol prior to the religious rites and kissed near the sacred fire that Hindus hold to be the witness to the marriage.
“They sat on a sofa and they were supposed to sit on the floor,” Khandelwal added.
His petition to the courtwhich will decide whether or not to prosecutealso pointed out that Hurley wore leather footwear near the fire, in a land that worships the cow.
The couple wed at an English castle prior to heading east for their Indian nuptials.
The bride’s own father-in-law is considering testifying against the couple in the case, the lawyer said.
Vinod Nayar told Sunday tabloids in Britain he had severed ties with his son after the younger Nayar ejected him from the marriage proceedings at Hurley’s behest.