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TN Govt Appeals Against Lifting of Ban on Vishwaroopam

Tamil Nadu government today filed an appeal against the interim order of a single judge of Madras High Court giving clearance for screening of Kamal Haasan's controversial Tamil movie Vishwaroopam.

The government sought immediate hearing of the appeal on the issue, which is likely to be heard this afternoon.

The decks were cleared late last night by Justice K Venkataraman, who granted the interim stay of operation of the order made under Section 144 of the CrPC by District Collectors across the state that had prevented release of the movie made with a nearly Rs 100 crore budget.

Advocate General A Navaneethakrishnan had said yesterday that the court's order was not final and would be challenged.

Justice Venkataraman, who had viewed the spy-thriller on Saturday, had passed the order considering the prima facie case established by Haasan, who questioned the two week ban, imposed after Muslim outfits were up in arms against its release claiming it portrayed their community in a bad light.

In his order, the court had said it was surprising that all District Magistrates/District Collectors of 31 districts, had taken a common decision and passed an order under Section 144 of CrPC "which appears to be strange."

The court had also noted that no independent reason had been given by Collectors and they solely relied on the statement of Muslim organisations.

The court's order yesterday had come as a big relief for Haasan, with estimates that he could have incurred a loss of Rs 30-80 crore due to non-release of the film in the state.

The film, made in Tamil, Telegu and Hindi, had encountered problems in Karnataka also, but is now being screened across the state after police provided adequate security.

The screening of actor-director Kamal Haasan's movie Viswaroopam was marred by violence in Ramanathapuram where petrol bombs were hurled and stones pelted at two theatres.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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