French woman arrested for naked video on Indian holy bridge

The Lakshman Jhula, a footbridge was made famous by the Beatles in the 1960s. (Twitter pic/LostTemple7)

NEW DELHI: A French woman has been arrested for making a video of herself naked on a holy bridge in the Indian city of Rishikesh, police said Saturday.

The 27-year-old now faces charges under India’s internet law with a maximum sentence of three years jail if found guilty.

She was detained on Thursday after posting footage of herself on the Lakshman Jhula, a footbridge over the Ganges river made famous by the Beatles in the 1960s and which remains a draw for backpackers and yoga practitioners.

“Maybe in France these things are not considered objectionable,” R K Saklani, head of the police station where the woman was taken, told AFP.

“But Rishikesh is a holy place and the Lakshman Jhula is the place where (Hindu gods) Ram, his brother Lakshman and wife Sita crossed the Ganges.”

Police only identified the woman by her first name Marie-Helene and said she had been in Rishikesh since March, just before a nationwide coronavirus lockdown was introduced.

“She told us she sells bead necklaces online and the shoot was aimed at promoting her business,” Saklani said.

Apart from the video on the bridge, the French woman had also taken naked pictures inside a hotel room Saklani added.

Police were alerted after the footage and photos were posted on social media.

The woman has been released on bail and the case could take months to complete, the officer said. Her mobile phone has been seized as part of the investigation.