The Akal Takht has called upon the Punjab government to ban the screening of the movie, ‘Messenger of God’, that features the controversial head of the Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
The Takht’s demand found support from the radical Sikh group Dal Khalsa and the Peer Mohammad faction of the All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF).
The movie is scheduled for release on January 16.
In a statement issued here on Sunday, Akal Takht jathedar, Giani Gurbachan Singh, said that the movie, if released, was bound to disturb communal harmony in various parts of the country, particularly in Punjab and Haryana.
“The Sikh community will not take a liking to this movie as Ram Rahim is no saint but a criminal who has committed murders and rapes. Moreover, the activities of the dera have been banned by the Akal Takht and Ram Rahim himself has been declared a ‘tankhaiya’ (religious offender),” the jathedar added.
In May 2007, the Akal Takht had issued a ‘hukamnama’ (edict) against Ram Rahim for his alleged impersonation of Guru Gobind Singh during a religious gathering of his followers at a dera in Bathinda district. The impersonation had led to clashes between radical Sikh groups and the Sirsa dera followers at various places in Punjab and Haryana.
Radical Sikh group Dal Khalsa has supported the ban, saying that the movie was bound to create communal tension.
“We will not mind the release of the movie but provided it tells the whole truth. If the movie shows Ram Rahim indulging in rapes and murders, then it is welcome for release. But not if these facts that are part of Ram Rahim’s life are hidden”, stated Dal Khalsa spokesperson, Kanwarpal Singh.
Kanwarpal also asked senior BJP leader Laxmi Kanta Chawla to specify her stand on Ram Rahim’s movie.
“You (Chawla) were among the first to seek a ban on movies that told the real story of the police atrocities that occurred in Punjab during the period of militancy. I seek to know your views on Ram Rahim’s movie”, he asked the BJP leader. The AISSF also supported the ban on the grounds that the movie will lead to communal tensions as the Sikh community is bound to get offended.
“A person who has offended the Akal Takht is not acceptable to the Sikh community. Hence, the state government and even the neighbouring states should ban this movie”, AISSF chief Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad said.