A politician who belongs to India's ruling Hindu nationalist party has offered a reward of $1.5 million for the head of an actress, whose only crime was acting in a film about a historical drama.

Suraj Pal Amu, a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), offered the bounty against actress Deepika Padukone and film maker Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

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The two are involved in the making of a film called "Padmavati",  which tells the story of a captive Hindu Queen who chooses martyrdom over marrying her Muslim captor.

He is only the latest in a line of politicians and officials, who have spoken out against the film. 

The makers of the film are accused at having distorted history. At the centre of the controversy is an allegation that the film's two protagonists are involved in a romantic scene.

In a country where tensions between the two religious groups are always simmering underneath the surface, such allegations are always likely to incite hostility.

Were someone to carry out Amu's directive and behead the actress and the film maker, they would be charged with murder and probably executed. Although religious sectarianism and tribal identity often try and dictate the agenda in India, the country's constitution is based on secular principles.

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