Wednesday, May 24th, 2006
Guwahati – The government in the predominantly Christian Nagaland has banned the sale of Dan Brown’s best-selling novel ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and also screening of the film based on it, saying the content is blasphemous.
‘The book is blasphemous…It has portrayed Christ and the Christian faith in a highly objectionable manner,’ Nagaland Education Minister Imkong Imchen told IANS Wednesday.
A government order said the novel is barred from being ’sold, distributed or read’ in Nagaland. The decision to ban ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and the film by the same name was taken at an emergency meeting of the Nagaland cabinet with the order coming into effect from Tuesday.
Nagaland has become the first Indian state to ban the book and the film.
The ban comes despite the film being cleared for viewing throughout India. It has been permitted adult viewing without any cuts but will have a disclaimer at the beginning and at the end saying it is a work of fiction. The film will be released in India Friday.
‘We have issued orders asking cinemas not to screen the controversial film as it is based on the novel which is nothing but blasphemous,’ the minister said.
According to the state cabinet, the film is ‘blasphemous and offensive’ while the novel is ‘outrageous and an insult to the Christian community at large’.
The powerful church in Nagaland has welcomed the government ban.
‘We are happy the government took a very positive decision as screening of the film and reading the book with its concocted image of Christianity could have sparked trouble,’ said Z. Terhuja, a senior Baptist church leader.
Interestingly, Christian majority Mizoram remains unfazed by the controversy.
‘People are mature enough. They know what to read and what films to watch,’ a Mizoram government official said.