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Mobile phone firm in trouble over Sikh joke SMS

Indian firm offends religious sensibilities

Indian police are taking action against Anil Ambani, chairman of large Indian telecommunications service provider Reliance Communications. The action happened after Reliance Communications's mobile network circulated a joke that offended the Sikh community.

The short message service (SMS) joke created a furore among Sikhs, who have traditionally been the butt of rude jokes questioning their intelligence.

A Sikh body earlier this week filed a complaint against Ambani in Lucknow in northern India. The case against Ambani and four other company officials has been registered by police in Lucknow.

Ambani and the other company officials have been charged under a section of the Indian Penal Code which relates to deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings

Reliance Communications, while apologising for the joke, said that SMS jokes were provided by a third-party vendor to the subscribers of telecom operators on a subscription basis.

The vendor is responsible for the content provided, and has already apologised to the subscribers and also to the Sikhs, a Reliance spokesman said today.

Mistakes by a third-party content provider also landed Yahoo in trouble earlier this year, after a blogger alleged that recipes from her blog had been reproduced without permission on a Yahoo website in India.

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