The Union government is committed to ensuring freedom of expression and liberty for artists, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said on Wednesday amid the controversy over Kamal Haasan’s film Vishwaroopam.

Asked about the Tamil Nadu government’s ban on the film, Mr. Shinde literally supported the actor, saying: “We are a free society. There is freedom of expression. There is liberty for artists. We have a Constitution.”

All should respect the Constitution. Artists should have full liberty to continue their choice of work. The Centre would enquire into why there were problems in the release of the film in Tamil Nadu and other States, he said.

Refusing to give any fresh deadline on the Telangana issue, Mr. Shinde said the process of consultations on statehood was still on. “It may take little more time to reach a final decision.”

Last month, Mr. Shinde said a final decision on the controversial issue would be taken by January 27. But this past Sunday, the Centre and the Congress said there was need for further consultations with stakeholders.