Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s film MSG-2: The Messenger was banned in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh after widespread protests against “objectionable” comments against tribals in the film, while in Punjab, Sauda followers held demonstrations alleging an unofficial ban on its screening. As tribals held protests against the movie in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, the situation is tense in Punjab as authorities fear that there is a strong possibility of clashes between Dera followers and others.
In the film, protagonist Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is seen bashing hundreds of adivasis (tribal) and saying, “Na toh ye log insaan hai na jaanwar, ye shaitan hain shaitan (These people are neither humans nor animals but devils). I have come to change the devils into humans. And my life is committed to it.”
Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das ordered a ban on screening of the film across the State saying he found the movie contained derogatory remarks against tribal people undermining their dignity. “No one has the freedom to hurt the sentiments of the indigenous and aboriginal people of the State. Such controversial films, which are bound to mar the reputation of tribal community, cannot be allowed to be shown in the State. Nobody has the right to insult any social group,” Das said.
Adivasis held protests against the film at various locations in Jharkhand. “Such statements presenting tribal people as a criminal-minded and backward community are a terrible blow to the reputation of tribal people.
When they are conveyed through films, which reach residents of other States too, the entire tribal community is presented in a bad light across the nation. Even if it is fictional, it does and will form a wrong image of tribal people in the mind of viewers,” said Adivasi Sarna Mahasabha convener Shiva Kachchap.
In Chhattisgarh too, tribals are vociferously demanding a ban on the screening of the movie and initiation of legal action against it for “deeply” hurting the dignity of the adivasis, who constitute around 32% of the total population. Tribals took out rallies, staged demonstrations, burnt the effigies of the lead character and appealed all multiplexes not to screen the film. Theatres in Raipur have not screened the movie.
“Chief Minister Raman Singh has said that tribal people won’t be insulted at any cost. We will take care of their dignity. Hence, Baba Ram Rahim’s film ‘MSG 2 – The Messenger’ won’t be screened in Chhattisgarh,” Swaraj Das, additional director of public relations, told DailyBouncer.
“The tribal community felt terribly offended. We demand to stop screening of the film. If no appropriate action taken against the movie and its producer, the tribals will be forced to resort to aggressive demonstration beyond Chhattisgarh,” said SR Netam, president of a tribal body Sarva Adivasi Samaj, which has members in different States.
The Jharkhand high court had on Friday issued notices to Hakikat Entertainment, maker of the film ‘MSG-2: The Messenger’, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), the State Tribal Advisory Council and others in response to a PIL seeking a ban on screening of the movie.
“The tribal have a big role in protecting the environment as they are the worshipers of nature. The movie has hurt the sentiments of more than 11 crore tribal population in the country,” Adivasi Jan Parishad (AJP) general secretary Prem Sahi Munda said.
Protests erupted in parts of Punjab as cinema halls abstained from screening the controversial film on the second day of its release. Though the film MSG-2 was not banned in Punjab, but the State police on Thursday had asked all the District Police Chiefs to ascertain whether the release of the movie will pose any threat to law and order in the state, official sources said.
Sauda followers held a protest demonstration and blocked traffic on the Moga-Barnala road in Moga district. Protesters also blocked a railway track in the district’s Bhugipura village. Meanwhile, at least 13 trains, including eight between Ludhiana and Ferozepur have been cancelled due to the protests in Moga and Amritsar, affecting thousands of travellers.
Senior police officials of the Bathinda district and Bathinda Zone said that they were keeping a strict watch on the situation and claimed that it was peaceful at the moment.
Dera followers have openly declared that they would not lift their blockade unless the film MSG-2 was screened in theatres.
Meanwhile, All India Sikh Students Federation President Karnail Singh Peer Mohammed today appealed the State Government not to allow screening of MSG-2, saying if it is shown in theatres in the State it could create a law and oder problem.