Timely intervention by the district administration and police officials helped avert a clash between Dera Sacha Sauda supporters and Sikh activists here today after heated arguments broke out between the two sides over the controversial film ‘The Messenger of God’.
Police said Sikh activists belonging to various outfits including the Haryana Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (HSGMC) had come to the Deputy Commissioner’s office to submit a memorandum demanding ban on the movie.
Soon, a large number of Dera supporters arrived at the spot and came face-to-face with the Sikh activists and confronted them. As the atmosphere became surcharged, the district administration and police intervened after which the two sides dispersed.
Talking to reporters later, a local Sikh leader said they were demanding a ban on the movie as its release will “hurt the sentiments of not just the Sikh community, but many other sections of the society as well. The movie features Sirsa- based Dera Sacha Sauda head in the lead role against whom serious charges are still pending before the courts”.
Jagdish Singh Jhinda, President of HSGMC, had earlier said that “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.”
The Punjab government had already stopped the screening of the film in the state, featuring Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, “in view of reports of tensions surrounding its release in some other parts of the country”.
High alerts have been sounded in Punjab and Haryana after protests were staged against the proposed release of the movie. Political parties like SAD and INLD, and several Sikh outfits had taken to the streets in Haryana, Punjab and Delhi protesting against the film.
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.