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Mar 4 2005
Indian Catholics Object to Film on Priestly "Sins"

Indian Catholics object to film on priestly "Sins"

Fri Mar 4, 2005 02:07 PM GMT

BOMBAY (Reuters) - Christians in India will step up protests against the screening of "Sins", a Bollywood film that shows a Catholic priest in a cassock and cross having sex with a woman half his age, a religious group has said.

The film prompted an attack this week by protestors on a theatre in Bombay, India's film capital and home to a large Catholic community. A further protest is planned on Saturday.

Christians object to the scene mixing sex with the cross, their main religious symbol.

"We want the objectionable scenes in the film to be deleted or the movie be completely withdrawn," Joseph Dias, general secretary of Catholic Secular Forum, told a news conference on Friday.

Sex scenes and nudity are often cut from films shown in India and some films covering controversial subjects have been blocked or delayed due to concerns about their impact.

Christians have appealed to India's president to intervene to protect the rights of minority communities.

"Tomorrow it could be the spiritual heads of Hindus, Sikhs or Muslims who could be targeted by an artist," Dias said.

Director Vinod Pande has said the film, showing across India since it was released a week ago, was not meant to offend anyone.

A local court rejected an appeal by Christian groups for a stay on the film's release.

India's National Commission for Minorities said it wanted the country's film certification authority to explain why such a film was cleared.

"We have received complaints from Christian groups," V.V. Augustine, a member of the Commission said. "We hope to take some steps to ensure caution is exercised in future."

Christians make up about 2 percent of the more than 1 billion people in India. Hindus make up about 80 percent and Muslims 13 percent.

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