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Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Racism row in New Zealand with beauty queen accused of 'not looking Indian enough'

A blonde, blue-eyed beauty queen is the latest focus of a racism row in New Zealand after she was accused of "not looking Indian enough" following her victory in the Miss IndiaNZ beauty title.

The 21-year-old, Jacinta Lal, who has a Fiji Indian father and a New Zealand mother, was booed by spectators when she won the Wellington pageant in April - and the case recently came to light in the wake of the resignation of a television presenter embroiled in allegations of racism, the New Zealand Herald said.

Award organiser Dharmesh Parikh told the newspaper he had received complaints questioning Lal's eligibility to be in the pageant - and there were also "raised eyebrows" when she competed for the national title in August.

Miss Lal said she had heard people saying that she "wasn't Indian-looking enough to win the pageant".

Mr Parikh said the case highlighted that racism cut both ways, in the wake of the resignation of TVNZ broadcaster Paul Henry over comments about Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand not "looking like a New Zealander" and his mocking of Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit's name.

Miss Lal said there was no difference between what Mr Henry said and the members of the Indian community who criticised her win.

"They are all wrong and should not say things like that," she said.

The Henry case, along with reports of an Australian inquiry into racist emails being circulated by police officers, have made headlines in major Indian newspapers and inflamed diplomatic tensions.

Herald Sun