Special Correspondent

High-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister takes the decision

HYDERABAD: Taking a cue from Tamil Nadu and four other States that have prevented the screening of controversial film `The Da Vinci Code', the Andhra Pradesh Government too has decided to impose a ban on screening of the movie, much to the dismay of cinegoers.

After a high-level meeting at the Secretariat here on Thursday, Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy gave his consent for banning the State-wide release of the film on June 2.

An order issued by the Home Department later said that the State Government was banning the film's release in English, Telugu or any other language throughout the State from Friday onwards.

The reason cited by the Government for its action was the protests lodged by the minority community, particularly by Christian organisations as also from others "including Muslims".

"After taking into consideration the reports and complaints from the minority community, particularly Christian community regarding the `The Da Vinci Code' and having come to the conclusion that exhibition of the film might hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims and Christians thus leading to law and order problems, the ban was promulgated", the order said.

Andhra Pradesh has now followed in the footsteps of Punjab, Goa, Tamil Nadu and Nagaland in banning the film which is based on the international best-seller authored by Dan Brown.

Earlier, the Chief Minister conferred with top officials, including the Director-General of Police Swaranjit Sen, Advocate-General C. V. Mohan Reddy, Special Chief Secretary Paul Bhuyan and Principal Secretary Jannath Hussain along with representatives of Muslim and Christian organisations on the issue.

He, however, relented when the officials cautioned him about possible law and order problems if the film was screened.