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MSG row: Protests in Punjab, another board member quits

A high alert has been sounded in Punjab and Haryana as protests were staged in Haryana and Delhi against the proposed release of the movie on Sunday.

The controversial Dera Saccha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, on whom the movie is based, claimed at a press conference in Gurgaon in Haryana where it was premiered that it does not target any religious section.

“I have clearly said that I am just human. The acts portrayed in the movie are simply stunts,” he said in an apparent rejection of criticism from Sikh groups that he was portraying himself as God and Sikh Guru.

The clearance by the Appellate Film Certification Tribunal created turbulence in Delhi when Ira Bhaskar, a member of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), decided to resign in solidarity with Samson, who quit last night. Samson had resigned after learning that the Tribunal had cleared the movie for release even though the CBFC had withheld it.

I have decided to resign. My resignation has to do with Leelaji’s decision to step down. We were working together and as a group we had discussed resigning earler. But we held on as she attempted to help the Ministry in running the Board,” Bhaskar said.

“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,” she told a news agency. Another CBFC member Nandini Sardesai came out in support of Samson and Bhaskar, saying this was the “last straw”.

“We went strictly by the Cinematograph Act. We saw the film in its entirety and found that it is not suitable for public viewing. That was the collective decision of all of us. “So as per procedure, it is upto the producer to go to Delhi and ask for a tribunal hearing which normally takes 15-30 days. This has happened within 24 hours,” she said.
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