Controversial film ‘MSG The Messenger of God’, featuring Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, today released in cinemas across the country amid tight security even as some parts of Delhi, Haryana and Jammu witnessed protests seeking its ban and some theatre owners opted out of its screening to avoid “unnecessary risk”.
Tight security arrangements were put in place around theatres in Haryana, Jammu and Delhi for the release of the movie, featuring Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
Several Sikh outfits and political parties, however, held protests and staged demonstrations in Delhi, Jammu and parts of Haryana seeking a ban on the screening of the movie.
Screening of the film was stopped for sometime at several cinemas in West Delhi following a protest by Shiromani Akali Dali (Badal) and some other groups.
The movie’s release had earlier been postponed after the Censor Board refused to pass it and protests erupted in many areas seeking its ban as it
“hurts religious sentiments”.
The film released in several theatres in Delhi amid tight security with three halls in Sikh-dominated areas of West Delhi opting not to screen it.
“We are not releasing the film. Though we haven’t faced any protest here, we decided to be in the safer side by not releasing it as the film has some issues,” said Anuj Kumar, manager of Movie Time multiplex.
Echoing the same sentiments, Deepak Kelkar, manager Wave Cinemas-Raja Garden, said, “None of our theatres from Wave Cinema (in NCR) has released the film. We don’t want to take any unnecessary risk.”
The Dera chief, who was scheduled to address the media in PVR Rivoli, Connaught Place, has skipped the press conference without citing any reason.
Activists of Shiromani Akali Dali (Badal) and some other groups held protests in Raja Garden, Subhash Nagar, Vikaspuri in West Delhi where the screening was stopped for hours.
“Security has been beefed up outside all cinema halls where this movie is to be screened. Police are also taking precautionary steps to maintain law and order in the area,” DCP (west) Pushpendra Kumar said.
Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Committee (DSGMC) general secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa said that cinema owners and the administration would be responsible for any untoward incident during screening of the movie.
“We will not allow screening of the movie hurting the religious sentiments,” Sirsa said, adding the protest would continue until movie is banned.
The Punjab Government had last month denied permission for screening of the film, anticipating a law and order problem.