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Nine censor board members follow Leela Samson, quit

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Nine members of the censor board have reportedly quit in support of chief Leela Samson, who resigned on Friday alleging government’s interference.

In their resignation letter written to the information and broadcasting ministry, the members said they wanted to step down because the government was not allowing them any autonomy.

“It is our firm position that given the cavalier and dismissive manner in which the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification) is treated by the government, it is impossible to perform this duty with even a modicum of efficacy or autonomy,” NDTV quoted the letter as saying on Saturday.

The members also alleged that the ministry had filled up the advisory panel with “people with questionable credentials” without heeding the recommendations of the board.

On Friday, Leela Samson had resigned citing ‘interference and coercion’ after the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT)  cleared the controversial film Messenger of God (MSG) starring Dera Saccha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

In an exclusive interview to Hindustan Times, Samson accused the information and broadcasting ministry of stifling her functioning by meddling in “every new film being released, big and small”.

Samson’s term had expired last September but it was extended on a temporary basis every three months since then.

“There was total interference on every film, big and small. A lot of pressure was put on the film PK through various fundamentalist organisations and through panel members of the board to cut scenes,” said Samson.

The government had, however, refuted her charges of interference and asked for evidence

“The chairperson talks about coercion, we as the government would like to see that SMS, or a letter where she or any other member has been coerced.

Then we would take appropriate action,” minister of state in the information and broadcasting ministry Rajyavardhan Rathore had said.

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