MSG row: Premier postponed, Baba Ram Rahim defends film as another censor board member decides to quit

New Delhi: Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh today defended his film ‘Messenger of God' saying those who are opposing the movie should watch it first.“Whoever is opposing the film, I request them
msg row premier postponed baba ram rahim defends...
India TV News Desk January 16, 2015 23:08 IST

New Delhi: Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh today defended his film ‘Messenger of God' saying those who are opposing the movie should watch it first.

“Whoever is opposing the film, I request them to first watch it. There is nothing in the film to oppose," said Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

"I don't know why they are not allowing us to showcase the premiere of the movie 'MSG',” added  Baba Ram Rahim.

Around 60 protesting workers of INLD and other political parties were arrested by police in Gurgaon to maintain law and order.

The movie's high profile premiere, scheduled to be held in Gurgaon today, was postponed till Sunday even as the sect authorities claimed they had received the formal letter of approval for release of the film.

More than two lakh people, including women and children, had gathered at the Leisure Valley Ground, Sector 29, in Gurgaon to watch the film.

Meanwhile, After censor board chief Leela Samson, another board member Ira Bhaskar has decided to resign over the state of affairs in the running of the statutory body.

Bhaskar, a professor of cinema studies in Jawaharlal Nehru University, said she will send in her resignation by tonight.

"I have decided to resign by tonight. My resignation has to do with Leelaji's decision to step down. We were working together and as a group we had discussed about resigning earlier but we held on as she attempted to help the ministry in running the board.

"But things were clearly not in order. There was no meeting in the past one year though it was mandatory for board members to meet every three months. The last meeting was in January 2014. The censor board CEO said there were no funds to hold the meetings so the board is clearly not required," said Bhaskar.

Meanwhile, widespread protests were held across Punjab and Haryana against the release of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's controversial film “Messenger of God”.

To control the agitating protestors Rapid Action Force (RAF) Rapid Action Force was called in Amritsar which carried ‘Flag March' in the city,

Protests were also staged in Hisar of Haryana.

INLD is upset with Dera Saccha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for supporting BJP in recently concluded Assembly elections in Haryana. Om Prakash Chautala led INLD believes that Baba Ram Rahim's open support to BJP cost it the Assembly elections.

The controversial film has been cleared by the censor board leading to resignation of its chief Leela Samson who accused the central government of interference and coercion in the functioning of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

The union government, however, has denied all charges leveled against it by the outgoing censor board chief and has asked her to substantiate her allegations.

Chandigarh:

Members of various organisations today held protests at Ambala in Haryana against the proposed screening of controversial film “Messenger of God” featuring Dera Saccha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in lead role.  The district officials in Haryana and Punjab have been asked by respective state authorities to take necessary steps to maintain law and order in view of the alleged clearance to the movie, an official spokesman said.

Chandigarh administration has also decided to maintain a close vigil on the situation, he said.

Members of Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (HSGMC) and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) raised slogans against the movie in front of Galaxy Mall at Ambala and said that they would not allow its screening.

The movie that was expected to hit theatres today had been referred to Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) for clearance by the Censor Board on January 12.  Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) member Harpal Singh Pali, Haryana SAD spokesman Sant Singh Kandahari and INLD leader Inderjit Singh were among those who led the protest, reports from Ambala said.

The Dera spokesman said the movie “is against drugs and there is nothing objectionable” in it.

Meanwhile Punjab Film Distributors Association (PFDA) said that they will take a decision on the screening of the movie next week after the revised date of its release is announced.

Association spokesman Rajesh Talib said that the association had earlier decided not to distribute the movie which was scheduled to be released today, but got delayed as Censor Board referred the movie to the FACT.  “Since the film has been cleared by the Censor Board, the association will discuss the issue and take a decision after the new date of the release of the movie is announced by the production house,” he said.

The film was scheduled to be screened by a national exhibitor chain operating screens at various malls in the country, but the spokesman of the group was not available for comments.

According to reports, Union Home Ministry has been concerned that the release of the film may evoke protests as certain Sikh organizations have been opposing the movie.  The Home Ministry had sent an advisory to states stating “various Sikh organizations and individuals are opposing the movie on the grounds that its release would disturb the communal harmony and law and order. They also opine that glorification of DSS chief facing serious criminal cases, should not be allowed”.

The Home Ministry said tension between Dera Saccha Sauda followers and Sikhs remain a potential flash point in view of the ongoing rivalry between the groups.

Delhi:

The national capital today saw a protest against controversial film ‘Messenger of God', which features Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, held by supporters of Shiromani Akali Dal. 

As they marched towards the BJP headquarters here, the protesters demanded an inquiry into the circumstances leading to the resignation of Censor Board Chairperson Leela Samson allegedly over “clearance” to the movie by the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT).  

The protesters, who were stopped by police, called for a ban on the film to “keep peace” in the country.  “The way this movie received clearance and how the chair of the Censor Board resigned raises many questions that need to be inquired into,” a protester said.

The movie, which was expected to hit theatres on Friday, had been referred by the Censor Board to FCAT for clearance on January 12.

Protests have erupted in various parts of Punjab and Haryana over the controversial film ahead of its screening.  Asked whether she was aware about news reports that FCAT has cleared the film, Samson had said last night, “I hear so.  Nothing in writing yet. It is a mockery of CBFC. My resignation is final. Have informed (I&B) secretary.”

She had stated that the decision to quit was taken because of “recent cases of interference”, “coercion and corruption of panel members and officers” of the Censor Board, allegations that the government refuted today saying it has always maintained a distance from the entire process of film certification.

 
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