India burns! Defiant Karni Sena blames Padmaavat director Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Updated: Jan 25, 2018, 17:10 IST | Agencies

Violence escalates ahead of Padmaavat release; defiant Karni Sena blames director Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Illustration/Uday Mohite
Illustration/Uday Mohite

Violent protests spread to towns and cities in many states including Rajasthan, Haryana, Maharashtra and UP yesterday, a day ahead of the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat, as fringe groups opposing the film remained defiant. In another worrying sign for the controversy-mired flick, the Multiplex Association of India, which represents about 75 per cent of multiplex owners, said the film would not be screened in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Goa.

'Janta curfew'
As protests raged, a defiant Shree Rajput Karni Sena, which has been spearheading the opposition to the Bollywood period drama, sought to pin the blame on film director Bhansali. The fringe outfit's chief patron Lokendra Singh Kalvi also insisted that a 'Janta curfew' will be imposed on theatres that screen the movie. He also claimed that Shiv Sena leaders had assured the Karni Sena of support on the issue in Maharashtra.

A firefighter tries to douse flames after Karni Sena activists torched a car during a demonstration against the release of the controversial film Padmaavat in Bhopal yesterday. Pic/PTI
A firefighter tries to douse flames after Karni Sena activists torched a car during a demonstration against the release of the controversial film Padmaavat in Bhopal yesterday. Pic/PTI

The fringe outfit leader also alleged that a dream sequence between the characters of Alauddin Khilji and Rani Padmavati existed in the controversial film, which, he said, was "intolerable". "Those who watched the film on the invitation by the censor board few days back have said that there is a dream sequence between Alauddin Khilji and Rani Padmavati in the film. We have been demanding that there should be no dream sequence and no romantic scene between the two," he told a press conference in Jaipur. The filmmakers, however, have assured in the past that no dream sequence exists in the movie. There is no such dream sequence in the movie, according to a PTI journalist who has seen the film.

'Protest to continue'
Kalvi also claimed that a section of media had wrongly reported that members of the Karni Sena had seen the film yesterday. Striking a defiant pose, the Karni Sena leader said that he and other outfit leaders may be arrested and bullets fired but the protest would continue in states like Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. "Janta curfew will be imposed on film halls at any cost. We are getting support of film hall owners and film distributors," Kalvi said.

No more cuts for Padmaavat: SC
The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to give an urgent hearing plea filed by lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma seeking removal of certain scenes from the film Padmaavat. The top court said it will hear the matter on Monday.

Kejriwal slams government, SC
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday slammed the Centre, state governments and the Supreme Court over failing to restrict the ongoing violence. "If all state govts, central govt and SC together cannot get one movie released and run safely, how can we expect investments to flow in? Forget FDI, even local investors wud feel hesitant. Not gud for already dwindling economy. Bad for jobs," Kejriwal tweeted.

States of the art

Rajasthan
Karni Sena members allegedly damaged two state roadways buses in Jaipur and blocked a road in the city's Kalwar area.

Maharashtra
Scores of activists were held in Mumbai and Nashik.

Padmavati protest

Gujarat
In Ahmedabad, the police arrested 50 people in connection with the violence and vandalism outside malls on Tuesday night. As many as 30 bikes and scooters, parked outside three multiplexes in the city were set ablaze by protesters.

Mob

Haryana
A bus was torched and a highway blocked in Gurgaon, where protesters violated prohibitory orders. Children from Stds II to XII of the GD Goenka World School were in a bus behind it, along with teachers and staff, as the mob threw rocks at it. The children are heard crying in a mobile phone video that captured several terrifying moments on the bus, caught in the mob violence, reported NDTV.

Madhya Pradesh
Nearly 200 protesters blocked National Highway-3, which links Agra with Mumbai, near Pigdambar crossing in Kishanganj area in Indore district and broke glass bottles on the road, police said.

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