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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 17:38 GMT 18:38 UK
India Catholics target Da Vinci
By Monica Chadha
BBC News, Mumbai

CSF protest poster
Catholics want government action over "anti-Christian" films

Roman Catholics in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) are taking part in worldwide protests against the release of the movie, The Da Vinci Code.

Hundreds of members of a Catholic group gathered outside a convent school in the Indian financial capital to protest against its release next week.

They say the film is an attack on their faith, and have warned of stronger protests if their demands are not met.

Catholics say they want the protest to draw the attention of the authorities.

"Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) activists will go on a fast unto death if the government fails to take action against anti-Christian movies," CSF general secretary Joseph Dias told the BBC.

Joseph Dias,  General Secretary of the Catholic Secular Forum
The movie must not be screened in India. It's a gross misrepresentation of the church and the faith
Joseph Dias, general secretary of the Catholic Secular Forum

He said the Christian community has been tolerant in relation to the book-release of the Dan Brown epic, but an audio-visual medium would have a more serious and a more lasting impact.

"You can't make fiction on a religious figure. Tempers are already running quite high and there's no way of saying what could happen if the movie is released," he said.

A press release issued by the CSF says: "The Da Vinci Code is offensive as it hit certain basic foundations of the religion."

The group says it has also collected thousands of signatures for a petition calling on President APJ Abdul Kalam to ban the film.

The CSF has also called for the banning of a second film, Tickle My Funny Bone, which chronicles the life of a "sexy nun".


In The Da Vinci Code, Mr Brown explores the premise that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and produced children, whose descendants are alive today.

Audrey Tautou and Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code
Audrey Tautou and Tom Hanks star in The Da Vinci Code film

It is a premise that has been strongly contested by parts of the Roman Catholic church. Catholic groups around the world have labelled the film as "offensive" and urged followers to boycott it.

The film's Indian distributors, Sony Pictures, were not available for comment.

This is the second such protest by a group in the city. On Tuesday, about 100-odd demonstrators from the Christian community gathered outside a church in a western suburb and burnt pages of the novel to protest against the release of the film.

It is estimated that there are about 18m Roman Catholics in India, with 500,000 living in Mumbai. The Christian community comprises about 2% of India's population of over one billion.

The film will be released worldwide on 19 May.

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