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Govt. considers opp. to <i>Da Vinci Code</i>

Delhi (UNI): Taking a cautious approach, the government has decided not to give clearance to the screening of controversial film Da Vinci Code till Information and Broadcasting Ministry and Catholic church was satisfied that the film would not hurt the sensitivity of the Christians in the country. Information and Broadcasting Minister P R Dasmunsi told reporters here today that he alongwith members of the Catholic Church, and officials of the I B ministry and Censor Board would view the movie in camera and only then a decision would be taken about its screening.

''Some elements are trying to create mischief and instability in the country by using the film, so we are extra cautious. Unless the minister as part of the governemnt and censor board is satisfied no screening of the film would be allowed by anyone,'' the minister said. Earlier, the Sony Television had decided to screen the film and some officials of the I and B minister and members of the Christian community had watched the movie and opined that there was nothing objectionable in the film. However, the government want to first establish a mechanism to get the representatives of the Catholic Church of the country satisfied only then it would allowed to be exhibited.

About 290 organizations, mostly representing the Catholic church, had approached the minister urging him to first view the film himself and only after being satisfied allow its screening. '' Since these organizations had sent a memo to the government, then it is my duty to cross check the facts before allowing the screening,'' the minister said. Since the film is due to be released in India on Friday, the decision would be taken soon.

Denying that attempt is being made to placate minority community, Mr Dasmunsi said that when the government viewed Rang De Basanti film five times before deciding to allow its screening, what was wrong in adopting a cautious approach now. He also cited the example of Anand Patwardhan's award winning documentary 'War and Peace' which was cleared only after he personally viewed it and directed Doordarshan to screen it.

In other news in Goa in deference to the wishes of the Christian community, the Goa government decided to dash a letter to the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting besides the Central Censor Board seeking a ban on the screening of the controversial film based on the novel Da Vinci Code now set for world-wide release on May 19.

Briefing media persons after the Cabinet reviewed the issue on the basis of the letter received from the Goa Catholic Association, Chief Minister Pratapsinh Rane said the Cabinet took ''cognisance'' of the circular, attached with the letter, issued by the Archbishop of Goa and Daman Fillip Neri Ferao to the astors, priests, parishioners asking them not to entertain the film.

'' The film, which attempts to distort and degrade Christianity, is likely to harm the sentiment of the Christian community, leading to communal disturbances, demonstrations and protests,'' Mr Rane said adding the letter sent to chief secretary cautioned the government. The government, he said, would not like to take the risk even as several of his cabinet colleagues belonging to the Christian community expressed anger against the screening of the film in Goa and even in different parts of the country. Now, it was for the I&B ministry and the censor board to take appropriate decision, Mr Rane added admitting he did not know the contents of the film.

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