BOMBAY, India, April 6 (AP) - In a multicultural society like India, the dividing line is very thin.

When Indian film actress Sonali Bendre posed for the cover of a local magazine in 1998, she never thought she had offended the nation's Hindu majority.

More than two years later, however, Bombay police arrested Bendre, her dress designer and a fashion photographer on charges of damaging religious sentiment.

Last month, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Usha Iyer released her after she posted bail of 12,000 rupees ($260). The dress designer and the photographer also were released on bail.

The cover photograph of the Bombay film magazine, Show Time, showed Bendre wearing a yellow cotton shirt with the Hindu religious symbol ``om'' painted on it.

In Hinduism, om is a word of affirmation intoned as part of a mantra.

The photograph captured the tall, semi-clad actress in a sensual pose with the shirt barely covering her thighs. She had a saffron dot, considered holy by devout Hindus, on her forehead.

Though no Hindu nationalist or women's groups protested, the social service branch of the Bombay police accused her of offending the religious sensibilities of this majority Hindu country.

``The case was registered following objections raised by the Maharashtra state government. We had lodged a case in 1998, and formally arrested the actress and two others in 2001,'' said senior Inspector Shirish Inamdar.

If convicted, the three can be jailed for two years each.

Bendre has faced arrest for the second time in the past two and a half years.

She landed herself in trouble in October 1998 when she joined a hunting expedition near Jodhpur in the northwestern desert state of Rajasthan during a film shoot.

Bendre and her co-stars, Salman Khan, Tabu, Saif Ali Khan and Neelam were arrested and charged with hunting and killing a protected black buck in a desert wildlife preserve.

They were released on bail, but the case has yet to be decided by a court more than two years later.

The charge of poaching endangered wild animals carries up to seven years in prison.

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