Making her position public for the first time on the row concerning Vishwaroopam , a film made by Kamal Hassan, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Thursday said decks could be cleared for the screening of the movie if leaders of Muslim organisations and the actor (Kamal Haasan) arrived at an amicable agreement and the actor agreed to delete objectionable portions.
“The government of Tamil Nadu will do everything possible to facilitate such an amicable agreement. There is no question of curbing freedom of speech,” the Chief Minister told reporters at an unscheduled press conference here.
Clarifying several points on the controversy, she said it was a total misconception that the State government did not have powers to ban a movie. Section 7 of the Tamil Nadu Cinemas (Regulation) Act, 1955, provided full powers to the State government to effect a ban. She pointed out that using the clause, the movie, Dam 999 , was banned and this was upheld by the Supreme Court.
In the case of Vishwaroopam , the State government had applied only Section 144 of Cr.PC because it wanted to give time for tempers to cool down and both sides could come together. On Wednesday, Kamal Mr. Haasan had agreed to delete some of the objectionable portions in the film. The leaders of Muslim organisations are in a frame of mind to accept this, she said. Mentioning that her first priority was the maintenance of law and order, she justified the ban, citing intelligence reports which stated that the protest could turn violent in some parts of the State.