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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 July 2006, 08:53 GMT 09:53 UK
Malaysia call to ban film suicide
By Jonathan Kent
BBC News, Kuala Lumpur

A Malaysian minister has called for suicide scenes to be cut from imported Indian films, amidst concerns that they are leading to copy-cat incidents.

His remarks come days after a young Tamil mother threw herself and two of her children in front of a train.

The deaths of K Sanggita and her daughters, Sacheria and Esther, have shocked Malaysia.

Suicides are a common dramatic feature in Indian films, especially those made for Tamil audiences.

Tamil poverty

After apparently arguing with her husband, 30-year-old K Sanggita took all four of her children to the railway line at Sungai Gudut, south of Kuala Lumpur, and waited in the path of an express train.

Her eldest daughter managed to escape, and her son survived with serious injuries.

Sadly, suicides among Malaysia's Tamil minority are reported all too regularly in the local media.

The Tamil community is the poorest of the three main ethnic groups here, and many Tamils face severe hardship.

But G Palanivel, deputy leader of the Tamil-dominated political party, the Malaysian Indian Congress, thinks movies are partly to blame.

He wants the country's censorship board to cut suicide scenes from Indian films, and he has called on directors from the sub-continent to be more responsible.

Mr Palanivel is not the first member of his community to make a connection with the worrying number of Malaysian Tamils who take their own lives.

He has also called on the government to compile statistics to provide a more complete picture of the problem.

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