April 5, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Patiala, Punjab (April 05, 2013): Under pressure from high-ups in Punjab police and the bureaucracy, the Punjab government imposed ban on Sadda Haq Punjabi movie on late evening of April 04, 2013. The movie was scheduled to be released on April 05. In an official statement it was reportedly said that the ban was imposed in order to prevent disturbance of law and order.
Sadda Haq Punjabi movie is inspired from true events of 1980s and 1990s in Punjab. This period had witnessed mass level atrocities and human rights abuses in Punjab.
Satwant Singh Talwara, is a character in the Sadda Haq movie, whose story is inspired from the life of human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra.
The fact of mass atrocities on the people of Punjab was revealed by S. Jaswant Singh Khalra at international level. Jaswant Singh Khalra, had shocked the world in mid-90s by placing, before Parliament of Canada, the photo copies of cremation grounds record and other firm evidences of mass-level Human rights abuse committed by Indian State’s armed forced in Punjab. Khalra brought into light systematic practices of “Enforced Disappearances” and “extra-judicial killings” of Sikhs adopted by State’s armed forces in Punjab during 1980s-90s. The general practice adopted by Punjab police to burn the dead bodies of Sikhs killed illegally by showing them as “unclaimed and unidentified dead bodies” had further worsen the situation.
It is worth mentioning that Justice Kuldeep Singh of Supreme Court, as he was then, had term the police practice of enforced disappearances, secret killing and cremations as even ‘Worse than Genocide’, while hearing a petition of Khalra Action Committee formed after disappearance of Jaswant Singh Khalra.
It is notable that Jaswant Singh Khalra was also subjected to enforced disappearance by the Punjab police and was eliminated in secrecy.
It must be remembered that the movie was screened at Punjab Bhawan by the film producers on April 04, 2013 evening, to get the approval from a team of IAS and IPS officers, comprising principal secretary to CM S K Sandhu, principal secretary (home) D. S. Bains, additional director general of police Hardeep Dhillon and chief secretary Rakesh Singh. It is learnt that on the ‘recommendations’ from bureaucracy and the top-cops the ban was imposed on the movie by the Punjab government.
The younger generation in Punjab is kept in dark about the recent history of Punjab.
Any effort to discuss the period is labeled as “attempt of revive militancy/terrorism in Punjab” by the Governments as well as the media. Recently in an opinion article published on an online news portal a question was raised that – if there was, really, any need to tell the younger generation about the recent history of the Punjab?
As the movie Sadda Haq was an attempt to present the untold story of 1980s-90s Punjab on screen, it was being viewed by Indian media and the bureaucracy as a movie that could “provoke” the situation.
According to the producers the movie is an attempt to tell the youth about reality of the events of that period so that the mistakes of past are not repeated again.
The movie was awarded “U” (Universal) certificate by the film certification board. The bureaucratic ban on movie is an undemocratic and autocratic step. It’s a major attack on freedom of free speech and expression.
As the movie wanted to tell the world real state of affairs in 1980s-90s Punjab, the police and bureaucracy wanted to hide their black past. The ban is a clear message from the police and the bureaucracy that “We won’t let you tell the world, what we did in Punjab during 1980s-90s.
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