CM justifies ban: ‘for peace,harmony’

The Punjab government Friday justified the ban on ‘Sadda Haq’,saying it was committed to maintain peace and harmony.

Written by Chitleen K Sethi | Amritsar | Updated: April 16, 2014 2:59 pm

The Punjab government Friday justified the ban on ‘Sadda Haq’,saying it was committed to maintain peace and harmony.

“It is our priority to maintain peace and communal harmony in the state… we don’t want that the movie should vitiate the communal atmosphere of the state,” Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal told reporters after paying homage to Akali stalwart,the late Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra on his 9th death anniversary.

Senior government officers present at the film’s special screening on Thursday,said there was “no way” the film could be allowed to shown across the state. “The state is not against the idea of someone making a film on terrorism,but the subject has been dealt with very insensitively and can lead to serious law and order problems,” said an officer.

“It is a one-sided portrayal of the days of terrorism and does not show the truth in its entirety. It can be misunderstood by the public… and is not objective,” said one of the officers who has seen the film.

The other officers too said that the terrorists portrayed in the film have been equated with Guru Gobind Singh and it would not only be objectionable to the Hindu bodies in the state but will also ruffle the sensitivity of the right minded Sikhs. “The film has a song which equates terrorists to Guru Gobind Singh saying that he was a rebel just like them. Even a baaz (an eagle associated with Guru Gobind Singh) is shown hovering over one of the terrorists,”said an officer.

Punjab had Thursday banned the film a day before it was to be released in the state saying that its screening will threaten communal harmony in the state.

“The film is not a fictionalized portrayal of the days of terrorism as was initially thought,but based on real incidents. At a certain level,we do not object to that. But when you are enacting out real events,you should balance it with the version of the other side as well,” added a police officer who was among those who saw the film Thursday.

The film is full of instances where the Punjab Police is shown to have grossly violated the human rights of not just those considered to be extremists but also the innocent public state in those days. The film is uncharitable to the Punjab Police and the film makers believe that this is one of the main reasons why the film has been banned.

“This is not true. Even Maachis was against the Punjab Police,but since it was made artistically and did not deal so crassly with the subject,it was accepted. In this film,the terrorists have been eulogized while the police has been shown as the one committing atrocities,” added another officer.

The film has characters,which look like terrorists Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale,Jagtar Singh Hawara,former Punjab DGP KPS Gill and police officers Ajit Singh Sandhu and Gobind Ram.

“Ajit Singh Sandhu committed suicide while Gobind Ram was killed by terrorists. These two incidents are there in the film. Why raise the bogey of terrorism after all these years by eulogizing extremists? People of all communities have been living in peace for two decades now. Why open their wounds?” asked another officer.

Dal Khalsa condemns ban

AMRITSAR: Radical Sikh outfit Dal Khalsa condemned the Punjab government for banning the film on “frivolous charges” and demanded a rethink on the move. H S Dhami,the Dal Khalsa chief,alleged that the Akali led Punjab government had suppressed “the right to expression” by banning the film in the state after coming under pressure from the bureaucracy.

Dhami said it was ironic that the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC),which had been at the forefront of the fight to get the film cleared by Censor Board,had failed to convince its own Akali government.

“By banning the film,the Punjab government has belittled the SGPC and Sikh institutions,” Dhami charged. He said that instead of serving it as a “lame duck” and helpless leader,SGPC chief Jathedar Avtar Singh Makkar should quit the post in protest against the ban.

Meanwhile,the film fraternity too rendered support to the film. Veteran Punjabi filmmaker Manmohan Singh said,“I have not seen the film,but why the ban when the censor board has cleared it?”

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