The Akal Takht, highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, on Thursday excommunicated the maker of controversial film ‘Nanak Shah Fakir’ from the panth (religion).

The decision taken by five high priests at Akal Takht secretariat in Amritsar. Pronouncing the decision, Akal Takht Jathedar Gurbachan Singh said despite the complete ban on the release of a controversial film in view the Sikh sentiments, film-maker Harinder Singh Sikka was adamant to release the movie on 13 April.

“So it was decided to boycott Sikka socially from all spheres,” he said adding that the members of Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), the apex religious body of the Sikhs, which had endorsed the film in 2016, too, would be summoned at the Akal Takht. All earlier communications stood null and void, Singh said.

While appealing the Sikh community to protest peacefully against the film’s release, the jathedar warned cinema hall owners that they would be solely responsible for any loss to their property in case the film is screened.

The controversial film Nanak Shah Fakir was cleared by the Supreme Court for its release on 13 April. The film has run into controversy with the SGPC and Akal Takht opposing the release of the film that depicts the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev, in a human form.

The Punjab government had earlier said that since the film is not being released in Punjab by the maker, no ban on it was required in the state. The Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, had however said that while authors, film-makers etc had the creative freedom of expression, such freedom could not be allowed to violate the religious sensitivities of any community.

Imposing a complete ban on Nanak Shah Fakir, the Akal Takht had said that showing Sikh gurus in living form cannot be permitted. “And the issue relating to human beings playing the role of the Guru and his family has not been addressed,” Singh had said earlier he said.

Some radical Sikh organisations too have demanded ban on the movie, claiming it “brazenly violates the religious philosophy and Sikh maryada (code of conduct)”.