Shutdown in Punjab against Sikh body’s pardon to self-styled godman

Amritsar, Sept.30 : A shutdown call was given by radical Sikh groups in Punjab on Wednesday in protest against the pardon granted by the Akal Takht to controversial self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

In 2007, Rahim Singh, the head of the Dera Sacha Sauda (DSS), had dressed up as Guru Gobind Singh. The incident had hurt the sentiments of Sikhs, following which the controversial godman was excommunicated from Guru Panth (Guru’s path).

Recently, Rahim Singh had apologised to the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikh religion. The Sikh clergy had accepted his apology.

A 12-hour-long shutdown was observed in Amritsar, among other places in the state.

Shops remained shut and roads wore a deserted look amid stringent security by police.

“The security measures in the whole city are very good. We have also called for additional force from outside as well. We have covered the whole city to assure the people that we are here to protect them and serve them,” said Superintendent of Police, Harvinder Singh.

Meanwhile, residents of Amritsar complained that their work was hampered due to the shutdown.

“We are not able to work due to the shutdown till afternoon , which is causing a lot of problems. The shutdown should have been for the whole day as half-day shutdown is hampering our work,” said Maninder Singh.

Rahim Singh had earlier grabbed headlines when he made his Bollywood debut with ‘ Messenger of God’ (MSG).

Several groups representing the Sikh s demanded a ban on the film, in which they said Singh distorted their scriptures.

Earlier this month, the sequel of MSG was released in India – ‘MSG – 2: The Messenger’ – amid protests. (ANI)