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The resignation of Censor Board Chief Leela Samson on Friday after the controversial film MSG-Messenger Of God, rejected by her panel was cleared for release, is being heavily censured.

She cited ’interference, coercion and corruption’ by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry but the Centre has denied all the allegations. The controversy surfaced after self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's film 'MSG—Messenger Of God' was cleared by the Film Certification Apellate Tribunal (FCAT) on Friday for release. The examining committee of the Censor Board had rejected it saying it as unsuitable and was referred to the revising committee. The film features Dera chief as a hero fighting social evils and performing miracles. Samson said that giving green signal to the film was "a mockery" of her organization. The politics involved and the intervention of the government with the smooth functioning of the organization by clearing a film already banned is something that could not be accepted as part of normal procedures. The incident has relevance particularly when daily happenings of intolerance and opposition of the Hindu fanatics against books and films escalate in the country.

The Modi government is moving ahead ensuring and reinforcing the authority and power of Sangh Parivar and its political allies in every field. Evidently attempts are also being made to expand their territory over the Censor Board too. The film MSG had sparked many controversies. The Censor Board banned the film saying it was “too controversial” and that it “may hurt sentiments” citing the fear of communal tension and glorifying of godmen. Dera, who backed Congress earlier, had tried his hands in Punjab polls; the film is banned in Punjab. He recently shifted allegiance to BJP in Haryana. The political turmoil may also have impacted the crisis in Censor Board. The government body that should be operating independently is apparently dancing to the tune of the bigoted and prejudiced ruling party. It is plainly in the grip of the anti-public setup that is misusing the art forms including films for safeguarding the political interests and fulfilling their personal motives.

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