India moves its Censor Board to the Church

via CNN-IBN published on May 16, 2006

Da Vinci Code has to crack the Church first, says Govt

New Delhi: With barely three days left before The Da Vinci Code hits cinema halls across the globe, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has said that clearance won’t be given to the movie till it’s screened before the Catholic Churches’ Association of India (CCAI).

Over 200 Catholic organisations have submitted a petition against the screening of the film to Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi.

An Information and Broadcasting Ministry official has said that Dasmunsi will sought the opinion of the concerned organisations before relasing the movie in India.

Dasmunshi will see the movie on Wednesday and will clear it only after consultation with the CCAI.

Speaking against the controversial film, Father Donald D’Souza of the Catholics Bishop’s Council said, “In a country where people are still learning about Christianity, such films can be quite harmful. We don’t want people to imbibe a wrong view of this religion in India.”

Meanwhile, Goa government has passed a resolution to ban the movie, Da Vinci Code and has also asked the Centre to impose a nationwide ban.

Chief Minister Pratapsinh Rane said on Tuesday that will write to the Censor Board “either to censor or stop the release” of the controversial film in the state.

“The government has taken cognisance of a letter by an organisation named the Catholic Association of Goa, which feared this movie would hurt the sentiments of Christians,” Rane said after chairing a meeting of the state cabinet.

“The association also attached a letter written by the Archbishop of Goa and Daman, Rev Fr Filip Nery Ferrao, to parishioners asking them to refrain from viewing this movie,” Rane said.

He said it is not within the state cabinet’s purview to ban the film from being screened in Goa.

“The issue figured in the cabinet meeting when the Chief Secretary placed the letter sent by the association. Cabinet members felt the movie would hurt sentiments of a large chunk of the community,” he said.

Rane, who also holds the Home portfolio, ruled out security measures for the theatres that planned to screen the film.

“There is no question of protection as it is for theatre owners to decide,” he said.

Da Vinci Code, which is scheduled for release soon in India, has been opposed by Christian groups in other parts of the country also.

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