Interference forced me to quit: Leela Samson

Interference forced me to quit: Leela Samson

Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chairperson Leela Samson said she decided to step down as she was “tired of” being coerced by politicians, religious groups as well as the government to give certification to films from time to time.

Member Ira Bhaskar also put in her papers on Friday in solidarity with the censor board chief.
“It’s not only the government but many political parties, religious groups, parliamentarians and individuals who coerce the board to give certification from time to time. I stepped down because I was tired of such things,” Samson told Deccan Herald.

Samson resigned from the post on Thursday after an appellate tribunal cleared the screening of a controversial film, “Messenger of God”, with Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in the lead.

Though there was a common perception in the CBFC that she stepped down following the tribunal’s nod to screening of the controversial film, Samson suggested that her resignation should not be linked with this.

“Not at all. Many decisions of the board were reversed in the past,” she said.
Samson, however, maintained that the censor board should be allowed to perform its task assigned to it by the government.

If this is not so, there was no need to have the CBFC, a statutory body, she said. “I had resigned six months ago. But they kept giving me extension, I do not know why. They should find a new chairperson and appoint new members (as their terms were over),” she added.

Samson, an acclaimed Bharatnatyam dancer, was appointed as the censor board chief by the erstwhile Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, and has been at the helm of affairs at the CBFC since 2011.

Meanwhile, the government denied having ever put any kind of pressure on the CBFC for giving clearance to “Messenger of God”.

“We have respected the censor board all along. We have always kept a hands away distance from the censor board decisions. In fact, when the issue of the previous film came up, we respected its decision,” Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore told the media.

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