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Tamil Nadu bans screening of 'Dam 999'

Tamil Nadu Thursday banned the screening of "Dam 999" in the wake of widespread protests against the movie that is seen as a pro-Kerala stand in the Mullaperiyar Dam case pending in the Supreme Court.

"'Dam 999', the movie that creates a fear among the public about the Mullaperiyar Dam, is banned from being screened in Tamil Nadu," said a terse statement by Chief Secretary Deberanath Sarangi.

Political parties in Tamil Nadu -- DMK, MDMK, PMK and others -- had voiced their opposition to the screening in the state of the controversial movie which was set for release Friday.

The government's decision comes a day after Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to advise the Kerala government "not to venture upon a new dam" and also not to whip up a sense of fear among the public about the safety of the Mullaperiyar Dam.

The Tamil Nadu Film Exhibitors Association Wednesday declared that the movie will not be screened by its members.

Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the Mullaperiyar Dam, built under an agreement signed in 1886 between the then maharaja of Travancore and the British administration.

The dam, located in Kerala's Idukki district, serves Tamil Nadu, which is demanding that its height be raised from 136 feet (41.5 m) to 142 feet (43 m) to meet the increasing demand of water for irrigation.

Kerala, however, is seeking construction of a new dam, saying the existing structure had outlived its life.

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