India's main Catholic bishop's group on Thursday opposed a ban on the movie "The Da Vinci Code," but suggested only adults be allowed to see the film.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of India also sent a letter to India's information and broadcasting minister demanding the movie display a "bold and lingering disclaimer" to state that it's a work of fiction,both at the beginning of the film and at the end, according to a statement on the group's Web site.
But leaders of smaller Christian groups in Bombay said they favored a ban on the movie.
Dolphy d'Souza, president of the Bombay Catholic Forum, said his group would organize seminars to mobilize public opinion against the film.
Joseph Dias, head of the Bombay-based Catholic Secular Forum, said a local court was expected to hear his petition demanding prosecution of members of India's censor board for clearing the movie and Sony Pictures India, the film's distributor, for "outraging the feeling of Christians."
Dias ended his two-day hunger strike Wednesday after Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi announced he would watch the movie himself.
Earlier this week, Dasmunshi put a temporary hold on the film's release, originally scheduled for Friday б though it had already been cleared by the national censor board.
On Wednesday, Dasmunshi watched the movie with representatives of several Christian groups who want the movie banned, and asked them to submit their objections to the ministry Thursday. Dasmunshi wants the censor board to look into the objections. A final decision on the release was expected Friday.
Like the best-selling novel on which it is based, the movie's plot centers on the contention that Jesus and a follower, Mary Magdalene, bore children, premise that has led senior Vatican officials to call the story offensive and to urge a boycott, reports the AP.