Patiala: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today justified the ban on 'Sadda Haq', a Punjabi movie believed to have glorified the Khalistan movement and its leaders, saying the state government was committed to maintain peace and harmony.
"It is our priority to maintain peace and communal harmony in the state... we don't want that the movie should vitiate the communal atmosphere of the state," he told reporters here after paying homage to Akali stalwart, the late Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra on his 9th death anniversary.
A day before its release, the Chandigarh administration, Punjab and Haryana government banned the film yesterday as it is understood to have glorified the Khalistan (separate Sikh homeland) movement and its leaders.
The movie is based on events in Punjab during 1980-90s and portrays alleged police torture and other inhuman practices that were reported during that period.
Punjab had witnessed great turbulence during the period in question and many police officers, including Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini, are facing charges for crimes such as torture, murder/extra-judicial killings.
Meanwhile, in Amritsar, radical Sikh outfit Dal Khalsa condemned the Punjab government for banning the film on "frivolous charges" and demanded a rethink on the move.
H S Dhami, the Dal Khalsa chief, alleged that the Akali led Punjab government had suppressed "the right to expression" by banning the film in the state after coming under pressure from the bureaucracy.
Dhami said it was ironic that the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which had been at the forefront of the fight to get the film cleared by Censor Board, had failed to convince its own Akali government.
"By banning the film, the Punjab government has belittled the SGPC and Sikh institutions," Dhami charged.
He said that instead of serving it as a "lame duck" and helpless leader, SGPC chief Jathedar Avtar Singh Makkar should quit the post in protest against the ban.
Noting that the Censor Board and SGPC had given their go-ahead for the film, Dhami said that those against its screening were driven by a "communal mindset".
He said the song "Baagi", which has generated controversy, is not a part of 'Sadda Haq' and was recorded by Punjabi singer Jazzy B to promote the film.
It is learnt that protests were held against the film at Phagwara and Hoshiarpur today.