Nagaland, a Christian state in India bans “Da Vinci Code”


India: May 24, 2006. Christian-dominated state of Nagaland has banned sales of the controversial book The Da Vinci Code, calling it blasphemous, a minister said on Wednesday.

Authorities in Nagaland, in the country`s restive north-east, said the ban had been imposed because of the "immense publicity" for the book generated by the film of the same name. "The book is an affront on the Christian faith. Christians have been severely hurt," Imkong L Imchen, Nagaland`s education minister, said from Kohima, the state capital. "Publishing, selling and reading of the book has been banned from yesterday (Tuesday)." The film`s release in India was delayed by a week Dan Brown`s best-selling The Da Vinci Code is not banned in the rest of India. The film, directed by Ron Howard, is an adaptation of the book that suggests Jesus married his female disciple Mary Magdalene and had a child with her. Imchen said that until now the book had been little known in Nagaland, where about 90 percent of the population is Christian. "We banned the book now because the film has generated awareness about it." Authorities in the neighbouring state of Mizoram, which also has a Christian majority, have not imposed a similar ban. Nagaland authorities said they would urge the federal government to allow the state to ban the film, which opens across India on Friday. The film`s release in India was delayed by a week after the country`s small Christian community held protest meetings demanding that the movie carry an adult certification and a disclaimer saying it was a work of fiction. "It`s not a question of whether we like it or not, but the issue is the government has agreed to the two demands. That is at least better," said Dolphy D`Souza, president of the Bombay Catholic Sabha (Society). Christians form about one percent of the billion-plus population of secular but predominantly Hindu India.

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