Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Thursday said her government was ready to facilitate an amicable solution to the controversy surrounding Kamal Haasan’s movie, Vishwaroopam.
“If Muslim leaders and Kamal Haasan come to us for a discussion, we are ready to facilitate an amicable agreement,” she told reporters here.
The chief minister defended her government’s decision to temporarily ban the movie.
“The government requested Haasan to show the movie to Muslim leaders but he avoided that, saying the movie dates had been postponed, due to DTH telecast issues. At the last moment (on January 21), he finally agreed to show the movie to Muslim leaders. They saw the movie on January 22 and met the home secretary on January 23, seeking a ban. Considering the situation, the decision for a ban was taken,” she said.
Adding: “If the government would have allowed the movie to be released, ignoring the protests and threats by various Muslims organisations, it would have created serious law and order issues. We banned the movie for 15 days to calm the situation down and pave the way for a peaceful release.”
Jayalalithaa said it was impossible to give protection for the release with the current strength of the state’s police force.
The movie was scheduled to release in 524 theatres and the government had intelligence reports that the release would lead to violence, she added.
Responding to the allegation that the government banned the movie after Haasan refused to sell telecast rights to television station Jaya TV at a lower rate, the chief minister said, “Jaya TV only supports (my) AIADMK. It (Jaya TV) does not belong to me and I don’t hold any shares, so there is no personal motive. This charge is false.” Jayalalithaa also said the government and she would send a defamation notice to DMK supremo M Karunanidhi and a section of the media, which published allegations that the ban was a personal revenge. “If at all I have an adversary, it is the DMK and its leader, who is my political rival,” she said.
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The jail term for first-time offenders would be between one year to seven years and a fine of Rs 20,000