Supporters of Dera Sacha Sauda Sunday forced cancellation of at least 40 trains as they sat on railway tracks and demanded that the movie Messenger of God- 2 (MSG-2) be screened in theatres.
The movie, featuring Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim, is a sequel of the movie Messenger of God, which was banned in the state earlier this year on the grounds that it hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community.
Many theatres in Punjab are not showing the movie despite there being no ban on the sequel.
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Dera followers lifted their dharna in Ludhiana at about 8pm after the DC Rajat Aggarwal assured to screen the movie in a theatre of their choice.
Earlier, protesters were seen brandishing sticks on the tracks and raising slogans against the government as they halted trains on the Dhuri line at Sangrur and even at Dhandari railway station in Ludhiana Sunday. They blamed the administration for putting pressure on theatre owners.
The police are passing the buck to the railway police, saying they had no authority to take action against the protesters as they were protesting on railway tracks.
At Bathinda, where no train could enter or leave the railway station since Saturday, SSP Inder Mohan Bhatti said,”As it is the matter of the Railways, the Railway Police Force (RPF) must take a call on the matter. We can assist them if needed.”
The reply has irked divisional railway manager (Ambala division) Dinesh Kumar. “The protest is not related to the Railways, so how can it be the job of the railway police? Our customers are suffering and it is the responsibility of state government to resolve the issue.”
At Bathinda, however, DC Dr Basant Garg Saud said,”They are asking us to screen the movie but as no theatre owner is ready (to screen the movie), we cannot accept this demand.”
Protesters are continuing their dharna in all other places till the filing of this report.
At Ambala division, on Sunday, a total of 13 trains were cancelled while six trains were short terminated and an equal number of trains were diverted. In Ferozepur railway division, a total 34 trains been cancelled while 36 had to be diverted because of the protests.