Breaking her silence over the controversy surrounding the ban on Tamil film 'Vishwaroopam', chief minister Jayalalithaa on Thursday said her government was
willing to facilitate resolution of the crisis if Muslim outfits and actor Kamal Haasan could hammer out an agreement.
Coming under all-round attack over the two-week ban imposed in the wake of protests by Muslim outfits, Jayalalithaa defended the government's decision, saying it was based on intelligence inputs about likely violence and to maintain law and order.
Making it clear that she had no "personal grudge" against Haasan or "personal interest" in banning the movie, she said there was no question of curbing freedom of speech.
"Even at this stage, if Muslim organisations and Kamal Haasan are willing to sit and arrive at an amicable agreement, the Tamil Nadu government is willing to facilitate that," she said after holding talks with top officials.
Squarely blaming the actor for the developments, Jayalalithaa said, "If Kamal Haasan had shown Muslim leaders the movie in the beginning, all this could have been avoided."
The chief minister said over the last few days, there has been lot of "hysteria" whipped up in the media over 'Vishwaroopam' and "reckless" and "wild charges" had been levelled.
She said the threat to law and order was "very real" and many Muslim outfits had announced a series of agitations. The primary objective of the government was to maintain peace and tranquility. "We relied on Intelligence inputs," she said.
"As chief minister of Tamil Nadu, my first and foremost priority is maintenance of law and order and to ensure public peace in which people can carry on with their daily lives and work," Jayalalithaa said, citing inadequate police manpower to provide security at all 524 theatres where the movie was to be
Jayalalithaa said 31,440 police personnel would have been required for security at all 524 theatres in three shifts, whereas only 9,226 officers were available after making provisions for maintenance of law and order and other requirements.
"How is it practically possible for the state government to provide protection to 524 theatres and maintain law and order when we do not have adequate manpower," she asked, explaining government's reason for the ban, which has come in the line of fire from personalities in different walks of
life, and actor Kamal Haasan even dubbing it as "cultural terrorism".
"It is only in that spirit we approached.....," she said. Jayalalithaa also dismissed allegations that her "personal motive" was behind the ban in the wake of charges that the action was taken because the actor had refused to give TV rights to Jaya TV.
"Jaya TV is a channel which supports AIADMK. Jaya TV does not belong to me. I am not in any way associated with its administration. I have nothing to do with Jaya TV. I do not hold shares (in it)", she said.
Dismissing the charges as "wild" and "reckless", she said government would have to take legal action against those who levelled them against a responsible constitutional authority.
Jayalalithaa's remarks come in the wake of her arch rival DMK chief M Karunanidhi citing reports suggesting that a TV channel close to AIADMK wanted to buy the film but the producers had refused saying they had spent over Rs. 100 crore.
She also ridiculed the charge that she bore grudge against Haasan for his remark at a function clamouring for a "dhoti-clad Tamilian" to become Prime Minister, an apparent reference to P Chidambaram.
"Why should I take offence to such statements? Kamal Haasan has freedom to air his views. If he wanted a dhoti-clad person to become Prime Minister, that is his own view. Kamal Haasan does not select the Prime Minister....."
Jayalalithaa said there were law and order problems in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, where the film has been released and it has been banned in various countries, including Malaysia, UAE and Singapore.
"I know nothing about Vishwaroopam," she said, adding she was not interested in movies any more.