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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 May 2006, 16:55 GMT 17:55 UK
India state in total Da Vinci ban
By Subir Bhaumik
BBC News, Calcutta

A protest by candlelight involving Christians in India
Christians protests in India have included vigils and a hunger strike
The authorities in the north-east Indian state of Nagaland have ordered an immediate ban on both the film and the novel of the Da Vinci Code.

They have expressed "serious resentment" against Indian censors for allowing the film to be screened.

The state government has issued an order to all cinemas not to show it.

Nagaland is a predominantly Christian state, where over the last 150 years mostly tribal converts gave up their ancient faiths to accept Christianity.


The ban in Nagaland comes a week after India's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) cleared The Da Vinci Code for adult viewing throughout India.

However the film's distributors, Sony Pictures, have not released it yet because of a dispute over disclaimers demanded by Christians at the beginning an end of the movie which say that it is a work of fiction.

Audrey Tautou and Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code
The film was premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday

The church is powerful in Nagaland, and under its pressure, the state government had to enforce prohibition over the last decade.

One of the main slogans of the state's leading separatist group, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) , is "Nagaland for Christ".

The state government has warned owners of cinemas, theatres and video parlours that under the terms of the Indian penal code, they face fines or imprisonment if they show the film.

'An affront'

Cable operators have also been warned not to receive, distribute or screen the film in any form in Nagaland.

At the same time, the state government has banned the Da Vinci Code novel by Dan Brown from being sold, distributed and read in Nagaland.

According to the state cabinet, the film is "blasphemous and offensive" while the novel is "an affront to the dignity of Christians and a direct assault on the Christian faith as a whole".

The authorities say that the order is issued in the public's interest and will help maintain calm and tranquillity in the state.

The cabinet also registered its frustration over the central government's failure to ban the film in India, since film certification is exclusively under their control.

Some Christians find the film find offensive because of its theory that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, and their descendants survive today.

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