Apprehending serious law and order problem in the state following the release of controversial film ‘Messenger of God’, featuring Dera Sacha Sauda sect head Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday said that the screening of the movie has been banned on the advisory of the Government of India (GoI).
“The screening of this movie has been banned on the advisory of the Government of India (GoI)”, Badal said at Muktsar.
Interacting with the media persons on the sidelines of the Sangat Darshan programme of Lambi Assembly segment in Muktsar district, the Chief Minister said that the reports of intelligence agencies of both the State and Centre governments had clearly said that the release of this movie could have led to serious repercussions in terms of law and order problem in the state.
Reiterating the firm commitment of the state government to maintain peace and amity, he said that it was their onerous duty to sustain the hard earned peace in Punjab at every cost. “We have received advisory from the Central government to ban this movie and thus the state government acted accordingly in the larger public interest,” added Badal.
The Punjab Government on January 17 had put a ban on the MSG. “The Punjab Government has decided to stop screening of the movie ‘Messenger of God (MSG)’ in the state,” Harcharan Bains, Advisor to the Punjab Chief Minister.
Also, in Sirsa (Haryana), tension gripped where authorities imposed prohibitory orders on Monday in view of protests against the film.
“We have imposed Section 144 (banning assembly of five or more people in an area) at a few places in Sirsa, including near a Sikh shrine, “Sirsa Deputy Commissioner Nikhil Gajraj said.
Assembly of people has been banned at few places in Sirsa to maintain law and order in the wake of protests by Sikh organisations against the film.
Meanwhile, certain Sikhs gathered at a Gurudwara on city police station road to register their protest against the film. Sirsa is the place where the headquarter of Dera Sacha Sauda is located.
“We want a ban on the movie…we are strongly against the movie, which if released, can cause tension in the society and hurt religious sentiments of many sections,” Jagdish Singh Jhinda, President of Haryana Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (HSGMC), said.
He warned that if the film is screened by any of the theatre or multiplex in Sirsa or elsewhere in Haryana it will be the owners who will be responsible for the consequences.
The HSGMC members gave a memorandum to the local SDM and DSP seeking ban on the film. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, “calls himself a saint despite facing serious cases in the courts. How can such a person call himself to be a messenger of God, he only wants to befool the people”, Jhinda had said.
Jhinda said the HSGMC has written to Censor Board, Haryana Government as well as the Centre demanding a ban on screening of the film.
“I have also asked Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh to clarify whether he is a saint or an actor,” he said, adding, if the film is released it can pose a threat to law and order problem.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, on whom the movie is based, had earlier claimed at a press conference in Gurgaon that the film does not target any religious section.
“I have clearly said that I am just human. The acts portrayed in the movie are simply stunts,” he had said, in an apparent rejection of criticism from Sikh groups that he was portraying himself as God and Sikh Guru.
The authorities are keeping a close vigil in several pockets of Sirsa, Gajraj said.