CHANDIGARH: The Supreme Court decision lifting the ban on controversial film Sadda Haq relating to the Khalistani militancy period has come as a set up to the Punjab government which had taken the initiative to stop its screening.
Haryana and Delhi had followed suit. This also betrays the double standards of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee President Avtar Singh Makkar. The lifting of the ban virtually coincides with the inauguration of the Operation Bluestar memorial in the Golden Temple complex.
The Punjab government has banned this film on the logic that it could disturb piece in the state as some non-descript organisations protested. What was all the more objectionable was its promotional song ‘Baghi’ that equated Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and Jagtar Singh Hawara with Guru Gobind Singh. This song was not part of the film and the producers have now withdrawn it from the Youtube.The ban has been imposed on the recommendations of an official committee that found this film objectionable.
Though sectarian, this film depicts the police excesses during that period. The police officials would not like that dark period to be exposed though it is in the common knowledge. The picture is said to be far from being artistic. But then one picture cannot cover all aspects of the situation. This vast subject can be explored by others. This is the second such attempt after ‘Maachis’ that was the first film dealing with Punjab militancy.The basic issue involved is the argument of the Punjab government about threat to peace. In case even a crude film can pose a threat to this peace, then this peace is too fragile. In other words, it is not peace but absence of political violence.
It is the responsibility of the rulers to ensure that the peace is durable and not so fragile.Following the initial objections from the Censor Board, it was the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee that had step in with Makkar constituting a seven member committee that found nothing objectionable with this film. It was the SGPC which intervened with the Censor Board in favour of the film. Makkar is on record praising this film.
However, he backtracked with the Punjab government decided to ban it. He later said that he had not seen the film himself.The film has been a hit overseas.Significantly, the same argument of threat to peace had been advanced against the construction of Operation Bluestar memorial on the Golden Temple complex. This memorial is only in the form of a gurdwara.