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SAD, INLD, Sikh outfits hit the streets to protest against MSG

Sikh community

Chandigarh/New Delhi: Shiromani Akali Dal, Indian National Lok Dal and Sikh outfits today took to the streets in Haryana, Punjab and Delhi protesting against the controversial film “Messenger of God” featuring Dera Sachcha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in lead role.

Members of SAD, Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC) and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) shouted slogans against the movie in front of Galaxy Mall at Ambala and vowed to stop its screening.

Similar protests were also held at Haryana’s Hissar and Sirsa, the headquarters of the Dera chief who has been at loggerheads with the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikhs.

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

Around 15,000 Dera followers from Bathinda in Punjab went to Gurgaon today for the movie’s proposed premier show and Punjab Police provided security to them within the state, Bathinda Zone, Paramraj Singh, told PTI over phone.

Punjab Police had yesterday carried out a flag-march in Bathinda where about 12,000-13,000 security personnel from the state police and paramilitary forces were deployed to maintain peace,” Singh said.

Bathinda, Muktsar, Mansa, Ferozepur, Faridkot and Moga districts of Punjab have a sizable presence of Dera followers.

In 2007, clashes had erupted between Sikhs and Dera followers in Bathinda following an advertisement in which Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh appeared dressed like Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and last guru of Sikhs.

Nearly 60 workers of Indian National Lok Dal were detained in Gurgaon when they attemped to stage a protest against the screening of ‘Messenger of God’.

In Delhi, supporters of Shiromani Akali Dal marched towards the BJP headquarters demanding an inquiry into the circumstances leading to the resignation of Censor Board Chairperson Leela Samson allegedly over “clearance” to the movie by the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT).

The protesters, who were stopped by police, called for a ban on the film to “keep peace” in the country.

“The way this movie received clearance and how the chair of the Censor Board resigned raises many questions that need to be inquired into,” a protester said.

District officials in Haryana and Punjab have been asked by respective state authorities to take necessary steps to maintain law and order in view of the reported clearance to the movie, an official spokesman said in Chandigarh.

Security personnel have been deployed in strength at sensitive locations in multiplexes and cinema halls where the movie was earlier scheduled to be screened today.

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