Protests turned violent in Gujarat on Sunday over the screening of the controversy-riddled Bollywood period drama Padmaavat. The film, which is slated to be released across the country on January 25, is witnessing backlash from fringe groups, including Shri Rajput Karni Sena, in various states. The situation turned grim in Gujarat where protesters burned buses and resorted to violence. Buses were burnt in Gandhinagar, Mehsana and Ahmedabad districts of the state by protesters demanding a ban over the film.
Meanwhile, in view of the violence, the Ahmedabad Police Commissioner issued a notification stating that those protesting near multiplexes, malls will be booked under section 308 of IPC (attempt to commit culpable homicide). The BJP governed state was one among the four which banned the film from releasing before the Supreme Court’s order. Gujarat Police DGP appealed for peace and said that to prevent untoward incident police are making preventive arrests, public buses in several routes had been stopped. “I appeal the protesters not to indulge in violence,” he added.
The film, after much delay, is set to be released in a few days on January 25. However, some multiplex owners have already indicated they might not screen the film over continuous threats of vandalism by Karni Sena and other similar groups. Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh government which too had banned the film in the state is all set to approach the Supreme Court. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan during an event in Indore said, “We will again knock on the apex court’s doors.”
In a bid to threaten multiplex owners, Karni Sena members distributed a memorandum in all the theatres asking them not to screen the movie. When asked what they would do when the film is screened, they said, “Wait and watch what happens on 25th.”
The Supreme Court had cleared Padmaavat for nationwide release by staying the notifications of Rajasthan and Gujarat governments, which had prohibited screening of the film following protests by the Rajput community. The court had also restrained other state governments from issuing similar orders. Similarly, the BJP government in Rajasthan has also decided to file a review petition in the apex court against its order allowing the release of the Deepika Padukone-starrer epic drama.