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North East awaits Da Vinci Code

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    Thursday, May 25, 2006
    Guwahati (UNI): The Christian dominated North East India waits with bated breath for release of the Da Vinci Code despite the fact Nagaland has banned the film. Four of the seven states in the region have Christian majority, but still North east is more or less open to Da Vinci, proving yet again that religious intolerance has no place here.

    Nagaland has banned it while Meghalaya is confused, Mizoram is open and Manipur is keeping a wait and watch policy. Asom has negligible percentage of Christian population, while minority Christian of Arunachal Pradesh are not so happy. But, broadly North East is open to the film and pirated market of Nagaland have gone overdrive to procure and copy the Da Vinci Code where Christ has been shown as a married man and a secret society of Europe was protecting the blood linage of the Christ till the 20th century. However in Nagaland, where Church is the supreme authority, the Cabinet prohibited sale and distribution of Dan Brown's novel Da Vinci Code throughout the state. The Cabinet, which met here on Monday, also prohibited the screening of the movie based on the book and produced by Ron Howard, and issued direction to all cinema hall owners, video parlours, cable operators as they fall under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Union government.

    Surprisingly Mizoram is cool towards Da Vinci Code. No other state in the country is more influenced by a religion other than Mizoram where the Church decides everything, from politics to music. However, the Mizos are not so bothered about the controversy. The Christian scholar Rev Chuauthuama has gone on record saying the book or film should not have much effect on the Mizo people even if other Christians around the world have been adversely affected by it. Superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church (NE), Rev R Lalrinsanga said, ''The book and film has been derogatory towards the Christians.'' Some clerics have, however, expressed distaste for Da Vinci Code saying it could alter and dilute Christian beliefs if propagated. Rev C Ngurhnema of the Mizoram Baptist Church said, ''Although I have not read the book, I know what it is all about. I believe the book to be a challenge to the Christian beliefs.'' However, the Christians of Arunachal Pradesh is not so happy. The Arunachal Christian Forum (ACF) has taken strong exception to the decision of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to release the controversial film in India and urged the authorities concerned to review its decision. Although the film is scheduled to release next Friday, officially it will take another three weeks to reach this far, but till then pirated version of the CD would flood the North East market as the advance copy from China have reached the border town of Tamu near Moreh in Manipur.

    The Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) has appreciated the decision of the Nagaland Cabinet to ban the novel Da Vinci Code and issuance of an 'advisory' not to distribute and screen the film. In a statement here today NBCC Secretary Rev L. Kari Longchar pointed out to the Union government if a cartoon of 'Muhammad' could offend the Muslims, a distorted story or the screening of the film would cause much greater damage to the sentiments of the Christians. The NBCC said the Christians in the state would get hurt by the film.

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