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Jay Leno's Mitt Romney Joke Upsets Sikh Community By Using Photo Of India's Golden Temple Of Amritsar (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 01/23/2012 2:17 pm Updated: 01/31/2012 10:31 am

A recent sketch by "The Tonight Show" host Jay Leno has angered members of India's Sikh community by insinuating the Golden Temple of Amritsar was one of Mitt Romney's estates.

The segment, which aired on Jan. 19, featured a clip from the CBS show "The Insider" which looked at homes of several presidential candidates, including Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.

"Here's a look at Mitt Romney's summer home on Lake Winnipesaukee," the voiceover indicated before the Leno team switched out the picture of the GOP candidate's estate with a photo of the shrine.

The clip caused an uproar among members of India's Sikh community who said the jab, which was intended for Romney, was insulting to their religion, the Wall Street Journal reports.

While the segment solicited a few laughs from the audience, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi called the incident "quite unfortunate and quite objectionable," the BBC reports.

Ravi, who said he has not personally seen the clip, has even called upon Nirupama Rao, the Indian Ambassador to the United States, to discuss the incident with the U.S. State Department, according to the Press Trust of India.

However, some say the joke shouldn't have been taken so seriously.

"Jay Leno is a comedian, take him with a pinch of salt," Suhel Seth, an Indian media commentator, told the AFP. "But our politicians do not want to address real issues, like getting clean water to people. They would rather talk about silly issues."

Abhijit Majumder, an editor at the Hindustan Times, seemed to agree with Seth's view.

"Read about Jay Leno joke. Next mass movement should be over largescale disappearance of India's sense of humour," Majumder Tweeted from his account, the Washington Post observed.

Nevertheless, members of the Sikh community have started an online petition denouncing Leno's comments as insensitive.

Neither Jay Leno nor media spokespersons for "The Tonight Show" have made any statement regarding the controversy.

Romney had previously appeared on "The Tonight Show" in 2010 before formally announcing his plans to run for president in 2012.

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