India has blocked the release of a film on the assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi, saying it glorifies her killers and could trigger violent protests, officials said yesterday.
India's film certification board said the film glorified the two Sikh bodyguards who killed Gandhi to avenge her suppression of an insurgency that culminated in an army assault on the Golden Temple, Sikhism's holiest shrine.
The film, Kaum De Heere, or "Diamonds of the Community", was scheduled to be released across northern India yesterday.
India's Home Ministry had expressed concern about a clearance earlier given to the film and had asked the panel to review it, board chief Leela Samson said.
"We saw the film and decided it could not be released as it was due to fears that it would lead to disruption of public order," she said. "The film is double trouble. It glorifies Indira Gandhi's assassins who took the law into their own hands and it glorifies the hanging of the two men."
Officials said the recent arrest of India's chief film censor on accusations that he solicited bribes to speed the clearance of films drew attention to the clearance given to Kaum De Heere.
Certification board CEO Rakesh Kumar was arrested on Tuesday after a sting operation in which two associates sought 70,000 rupees on Kumar's behalf to speed up clearance for a film.
During questioning, Kumar revealed he had accepted a 100,000 rupees from the makers of Kaum De Heere to approve its censor certification. The film's producer and director have denied the charges.