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Controversial Indian show depicting child marriage pulled off air

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DUBAI: Following intense backlash in India, Sony Entertainment Television said Tuesday that it has pulled its controversial show “Pehredaar Piya Ki” (Husband’s Guard) off the air.
The show was launched last month on Sony Entertainment Television — a popular Hindi general entertainment channel in India — and was aired every weekday night in the prime 8:30 p.m. slot.
The show revolved around a 10-year-old boy married to a 19-year-old woman and has outraged Indian viewers who sought to ban the “bizarre show” for glorifying child marriage.
“While we understand that the decision to end this serial will be disappointing to those whose creative energies are vested in it, namely its crew and cast, we are convinced that we will be better served by focusing instead on developing viewer interest in our upcoming, new shows,” an official statement by Sony said.
“We are grateful to all the artists, producers and fans of our shows and request you to graciously support the viewership of our newer ventures,” it added.
Earlier in August, India’s Broadcasting Content Complaints Council stated that the program must add an on-screen scroll stating that it does not promote the concept of child marriage.
A Change.org petition urging information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani to ban the show was launched last week and the petitioner, Mansi Jain, questioned the influence the soap would have on viewers and said it showed the child perform marriage rituals such as putting vermillion on the older actor playing his wife.

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