After Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, his bitter critic, Baljit Singh Daduwal, has been bitten by the film bug.
Daduwal, a radical Sikh preacher active in Malwa, is making his screen debut in the Punjabi film, ‘The Blood Street’. The movie, scheduled for release on May 1, is written and directed by Darshan Darvesh, who had directed Hindi serial ‘Daane Anaar De’, which was telecast on Zee TV.
According to the director, the film deals with the turbulent period in Punjab after the 1988 Operation Black Thunder. “It is the story of oppression of minorities at the hands of the corrupt and powerful who have the reins of power. It is the story of injustice and frustration that forces young minds to take to the path of violence in their quest for justice,” Darvesh said while addressing the media here on Monday.
Daduwal, who was also present at the media briefing, said he did not accept a role in the movie just to counter Ram Rahim’s propaganda in ‘MSG: The Messenger’.
“Our movie went on the floors much earlier than ‘MSG’, but took a longer time to complete. So, you cannot say that I have followed in Ram Rahim’s footsteps,” Daduwal said.
He plays the role of a Sikh preacher, something that he does in real life. He is shown addressing religious gatherings and doing ‘kirtan’.
“In the movie, youngsters who have suffered injustice and have taken to the path of violence come into my contact. Through the teachings of our Gurus, I tell them never to use the gun or force against the weak and the oppressed,” he said.
Daduwal is among the most bitter critics of the Sirsa-based dera’s head. His followers have repeatedly clashed with dera supporters in Malwa and parts of Haryana bordering Punjab. Daduwal is also a member of the executive body of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC).
Manpreet Jawanda and Binny Singh are in the lead roles in the movie, which has been cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
Baljit Singh Daduwal invited the ire of Punjab’s ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) last year by extending support to the Congress-backed Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC)
He was arrested on August 21, 2014, in a 2009 attempt-to-murder case in Faridkot district. He was also booked by the Faridkot police under the Arms Act for allegedly keeping illegal arms and was subsequently arrested by the Mansa police in another attempt-to-murder case. He was granted bail in all cases and came out of jail on October 14, 2014.
Daduwal had then alleged that these cases were registered at the behest of the SAD.