High alert has been sounded in Bathinda and adjoining areas in Punjab and security forces deployed in the wake of growing tension between members of Sikh organisations and Dera followers over the issue ofproposed screening of controversial film 'Messenger of God'featuring Dera Saccha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
"Yes, high alert has been declared (in Bathinda and adjoining areas)," IG, Bathinda Zone, Paramraj Singh told PTI
over phone on Friday.He said ten companies from armoured forces and six companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed, besides the state police, to maintain law and order.
"We have almost 12,000-13,000 numbers of security officials from the state police, armoured and paramilitary
forces to maintain peace," he said.
Bathinda zone covers several districts including Bathinda, Muktsar, Mansa, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Moga. A large number of
Dera followers belong to these districts.
"Our focus from point of maintaining law and order will be on five districts which are Moga, Faridkot, Mansa, Bathinda
and Ferozepur," he said.
Around 15,000 Dera followers from Bhatinda range went to Gurgaon in Haryana today for movie's premier show and Punjab
Police provided security to them within the state, he said.
On Thursday, Punjab police had even carried out a flag march in Bathinda.
Various Sikh organisations, including the Akal Takht -Sikhs' highest temporal seat - have been demanding a ban on
the movie in which Dera head is in lead role.