The Punjab government on Wednesday suspended the screening of “Nanak Shah Fakir”, a film on the life of Guru Nanak, for two months, citing “widespread reports of unrest and resentment against the movie, leading to public protests and demonstrations against it by the Sikh masses”.
The suspension comes into force with immediate effect and will apply to all forms of public and private exhibition, distribution, and viewing of the film in the state. A spokesman of the chief minister’s office issued a statement here that “the film will be deemed to be uncertified in the state during the period of suspension”.
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) as well as radical Sikh organisations had demanded a ban on the film on the grounds that the film represented Guru Nanak and his family in human form, which was against the Sikh tenets.
The suspension is imposed under sub-section (1) (applied to any film that is likely to cause a breach of peace) of Section 6 of the Punjab Cinemas (Regulation) Act, 1952. “Intelligence inputs from the state agencies suggest a threat to the hard-earned peace of the state in the event of the film’s being released,” the statement adds.
The inputs include details of all the related protests in the state in the past week. Other than Sikh organisations, students of Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), Amritsar, and Punjabi University, Patiala, had protested to stall the film release.
Reacting to the move, filmmaker Harinder Sikka said he was “unhappy that the people of Punjab, who worship Guru Nanak Dev, will be deprived of watching the film because of these Sikh radical groups”.
Radicals happy, for countrywide ban
Amritsar: Sikh radical organisation Dal Khalsa has welcomed the suspension order. “It means that better sense has prevailed. We are happy if is it because of the pressure created by us and the Sikh youth organisations,” said Dal Khalsa spokesman Kanwar Pal Singh, adding: “Now at least we won’t have to resort to streets protests.”The organisation said it wanted neither Sikhs and nor the people of any other faith to watch the movie, for which either producer Sikka should withdraw it or the Indian government should ban it considering the Sikh sentiments.