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Punjab Govt bans private, public screening of controversial film ‘Messenger of God’ fearing communal violence

The film, which was expected to hit theatres on Friday last, had been referred by the Censor Board to FCAT for clearance on January 12.

By: Press Trust of India Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina | Chandigarh | Updated: January 18, 2015 12:09:54 am
MSG, Ram Rahim, Messenger of God Sant Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim talks to the media about his movie MSG in Gurgaon on Friday. (Source: PTI Photo)

The Punjab government on Saturday decided not to allow the screening of MSG: The Messenger of God — the film starring Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh — in the state. Senior government officials claimed that the decision was taken “in view of reports of tension surrounding the movie’s release in other parts of the country”.
The state government has also gone on record to state that the decision has been taken in the larger interest of preserving peace and “safeguarding the age-old emotional bonds among people professing different faiths in the state”.

The order comes into force with immediate effect and will apply to all forms of public and private screenings, including in cinema houses. The Punjab government further said that its decision has been guided by advisories issued by central intelligence agencies that had, according to the government, urged the state to take necessary steps to prevent any breach of peace or untoward incident which may lead to law and order problems.

“The screening of the film is likely to evoke strong emotional reactions leading to public display of conflicting emotions. The government cannot allow the chain of actions and reactions that will pose a threat to peace and social harmony in the state. The government is bound by a duty to pre-empt and prevent any such eventuality and to ensure that the hard earned atmosphere of peace and social harmony in the state is preserved at all costs,” said a government statement.

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