Prohibitory orders against assembly of people and carrying weapons were issued across Haryana Thursday to deal with any situation resulting due to the build-up of tension over the release of controversial film MSG – the Messenger Friday. Security across Haryana and Chandigarh was tightened Thursday with police and paramilitary forces manning sensitive areas.
Sikh organisations held protests in some places in Haryana Thursday. Prohibitory orders were issued by the authorities in various districts of Haryana to prevent any untoward incident as Sikh groups in Haryana and Chandigarh are opposing the film’s release.
The film features Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. Haryana Director General of Police Yashpal Singal urged people to maintain law and order. “All range inspectors general, police commissioners, superintendents of police and station house officers have been directed to make proper arrangements of security in all cinema halls in their respective districts.
“Section 144 has been imposed in various districts and additional police personnel have been deployed in all cinema halls,” Singhal said. The authorities have banned holding of any procession or demonstration without permission. The Punjab government had banned the release of the film last month.
After being denied a release certificate by the censor board last month, the film got the certificate last week. It is scheduled to be released in over 4,000 screens across India Friday.
Haryana Police officers said here Thursday that the situation was being closely monitored in many parts of the state, especially in Sirsa, Kurukshetra, Gurgaon, Rohtak, Ambala and other districts.
While the Dera Sacha Sauda sect headquarters are located near Sirsa town, 250 km from here, Kurukshetra and some other places house a substantial Sikh population. The relations between sect followers and Sikhs have not been good in recent years.
Kurukshetra district magistrate C.G. Rajnikanthan, who issued the certificate for release of “MSG – the Messenger” in the district, warned that action would be taken against anyone disturbing law and order over the film’s release.
The district authorities have imposed Section 144, prohibiting the assembly of five or more people and carrying of firearms near the theatre, where the film will be released Sunday.
In Chandigarh, security has been tightened around the malls, where the film will be released Friday. Sikh leaders submitted a memorandum to the Chandigarh administration Thursday seeking a ban on the release of the film. They said the administration would be responsible if anything untoward happened.
The controversial movie was earlier called “MSG” (Messenger of God). It was to be released Jan 16 but it did not get clearance from the censor board. Various groups had protested against its release at that point in time as well. The sect leader, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who plays the protagonist in the film, is its director, singer and lyricist, and has been aggressively promoting the film countrywide.
The sect claims the movie is not against any religion or group and is only highlighting social evils.