Home Entertainment Padmaavat protest: day before release violence grips different parts of the country

Padmaavat protest: day before release violence grips different parts of the country

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(G.N.S) Dt. 24

New Delhi

– Multiplex association of India said not to screen ‘Padmavat’ in 4 states: Rajasthan, Gujarat, MP and Goa

– Karni Sena warns of ‘Janta curfew’

– Bus torched in Haryana

– Protests in Lucknow

– NH-3 blocked briefly in Madhya Pradesh

– Theatre vandalised in Jammu

Ahead of the release, protests against ‘Padmaavat’ continue to storm parts of the country on Wednesday. Protesters in Gurugram’s Sohna torched a bus and pelted stones in protest against the film. Clubs and bars in Gurugram have decided to remain shut from 7 pm today till further order in the light of protests against the film. As violent protests against the release of film ‘Padmaavat’ burgeoned, the Multiplex Association of India said today its members would not screen the period drama in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Goa.

The decision of the association, which represents about 75 per cent of the multiplex owners in the country, came as Rajput outfits and other fringe elements vandalised malls, burned vehicles, and issued open threats to theatre owners and public in their bid to stall its release, claiming distortion of history.

Earlier in the day, theatre owners in Gujarat said ‘Padmaavat’ will not be screened in any of the multiplexes or single screens in the State till the row over the film is resolved, even as police arrested 50 people in connection with the violence outside malls in Ahmedabad last night.

The Gujarat Multiplex Owners Association said the decision has been taken for the safety of customers as well as to save their property.

“For us safety of patrons is important. Depending on the scenario, we will see if the atmosphere is safe, then we will play it (in these four states). Things could change (but) at the moment we are looking at safety of people,” Deepak Asher, president of the association, told media.

Even in the states where the film would be released, private security guards would be deployed outside cinema halls besides police, he said.

“We have decided not to play the film in four states Rajasthan, Gujarat, MP and Goa — as the local management has told us that the law and order situation is not conducive,” Deepak Asher, president of the association, told .

“For us safety of patrons is important. Depending on the scenario, we will see if the atmosphere is safe, then we will play it (in these four states). Things could change (but) at the moment we are looking at safety of people,” he added.

Even in the states where the film would be released, private security guards would be deployed outside cinema halls besides police, he said.

The association members together account for for 1,800- 2,000 screens accross the country.

The Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directed “Padmaavat” is based on the saga of a 13th century battle between Maharaja Ratan Singh of Mewar and Sultan Alauddin Khilji.

A top official in Mumbai said police will provide adequate security to theatres wherever it is required.

“We are releasing the film almost everywhere, except few places where there is disturbance. We have 488 screens across India. In a few places the film won’t be shown due to possible threat (of violence),” said Rajender Singh, Chief Programing Officer.

He said Inox has been assured of protection by the local police stations at various places and that it has also stepped up in-house security. Singh said though advance booking was very encouraging, it was difficult to say how many people would turn up to see the film.

Nitin Datar, executive committee member, Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association of India, said the organisation has asked its member exhibitors to contact the nearest police stations and seek protection.

“Police officials called us to find out where the film is releasing. They have assured police protection. Ultimately, it is the individual choice of the exhibitor (to screen or not), taking into consideration the risk, the damage that can be caused to the property. But more than that, exhibitors are worried about the security of patrons,” Datar said.

The association, with members in Gujarat, Goa, Maharashtra and parts of Karnataka, has over 500 theatres affiliated to it.

Manoj Desai, Executive Director of Gaiety, Galaxy and Maratha Mandir single-screen cinemas in Mumbai, said they have yet to get any security.

“We have not received any security yet, but we might get it till tomorrow morning. We are still waiting. It is the job of the authorities to provide us adequate security. If something happens to my property, I am even willing to sit in front of the CM’s house (to seek justice),” Desai said.

He said while 70 per cent of seats in the three cinema halls were booked, families were a little scared to watch thhe film. “There is excitement about the film. I hope law and order prevails and the film has a smooth release,” he said.

An exhibitor from Maharashtra, who did not wish to be named, said his chain of theatres is ready for the release.

“We will abide by the Supreme Court’s order and screen the film as we have got a fantastic advance booking. We have faith in the state government and the police,” he said.

Bhansali and the film’s lead actor Deepika Padukone have received death threats over the film.

Karni Sena warns of ‘Janta curfew’

Lokendra Singh Kalvi, the chief patron of right-wing outfit Shree Rajput Karni Sena, on Wednesday, announced that a ‘Janta curfew’ will be imposed on theatres screening the movie. “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 said.

Members of the Karni Sena damaged windows of two Rajasthan roadways buses and blocked a road in Kalwar area in Jaipur. “One bus was on its way to New Delhi from Sikar and the second was coming from New Delhi. Windows of the buses were damaged but there was no report of any injury,” said a policeman of Neema Ka Thana Police Station in Sikar district.

SP Jalore Vikas Kumar said nearly 50 people assembled in Bagoda for protests, prompting the authorities to seal a few areas in the town. “People have been demonstrating against the film. But the situation is peaceful now,” Mr. Kumar said.

In Chittorgarh, a few women were prevented from entering Chittor Fort for holding a protest, Deputy SP Gajendara Singh said.

A police jeep with half-a-dozen policemen was seen outside the entrance of Bhansali’s residence in suburban Andheri today. At the exit gate, four private security guards were spotted.

Inside the building, there were another 6-7 private security guards, making sure no stranger enters without permission and proper checking.

Two constables were stationed outside the multi-storey building in Prabhadevi in south Mumbai where Padukone lives, while another team was inside the premises.

Police sources said security will be provided to the actor round-the-clock until “the issue dies down”.

Heavy security was deployed last evening during a media screening of “Padmaavat” at a mall in Mumbai. Police sources said they will continue to remain stationed there “at least for the next two days”, and once the film is released, they will assess the situation.

Theatre owners in Gujarat today said the film will not be screened in any of the multiplexes or single-screen theatres in the state till the row is resolved. The Gujarat Multiplex Owners Association said the decision was taken for the safety of viewers as well as to avoid damage to theatres.

Bus torched in Haryana

On Tuesday, Gurugram’s District Magistrate had announced that Section 144 would be in place within a 200-meter radius around film halls till January 28. The imposition of Section 144 prohibits the presence of persons carrying firearms and others articles capable of causing injury, raising slogans and exhibiting placards.

Section 144 was imposed in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Budh Nagar, a day earlier, which includes Noida and the order will continue to be in effect for the next two months. This had come after police failed to control a protest over the release of Padmaavat.

A Haryana Roadways bus was set on fire on Wednesday near village Bhondsi in Gurugram allegedly by activists of Karni Sena, who were protesting against the release of film ‘Padmaavat’.

This latest incident of hooliganism occurred despite Haryana Police claims that nobody would be allowed to disrupt peace in the state in the wake of the controversial movie’s release on Thursday. A group of activists torched the Haryana Roadways bus near village Bhondsi on the Sohna road here, police said in Gurugram.

However, there was no loss of life in the incident, a police officer said, adding that activists allegedly owing allegiance to Karni Sena were protesting against the release of the movie.

Earlier, a group of unidentified hooligans had vandalized a shopping mall in Kurukshetra in January 21. Carrying sharp edged weapons and sticks, they broke the glasses panes of shops in the mall. A number of fringe groups had threatened multiplex, theatre and cinema hall owners against the screening of the movie alleging that it portrayed the character of ‘Rani Padmavati’ in “poor light”.

Prohibitory orders have been imposed in Gurugram as a precautionary measure, though no incident of violence were reported in the city on Wednesday.

Hundreds of Karni Sena supporters staged protests near the Khidki- Daula toll plaza on the Delhi-Jaipur National Highway. Police removed the agitators from the scene and ensured ssmooth flow of traffic.

Meanwhile, rumours spread across Gurugram that pubs and bars have been asked to shut down from Wednesday evening. The Gurugram Police rubbished these reports as rumours and informed through their twitter handle that educational institutions and offices will work as usual tomorrow.

Protests in Lucknow

In Lucknow, Rajput groups protested near near malls and theatres. A number of activists of the Karni Sena staged protests outside two malls in Gomti Nagar area. The police used mild force to disperse protesters gathered outside Gomti Nagar police station after a few activists were detained.

“The security around cinema halls have been increased. We will not let anyone take law in his hand,” a senior police official said. An alert has been sounded and all the district police chiefs have been asked to remain vigilant across Uttar Pradesh.

NH-3 blocked briefly in Madhya Pradesh

Protests spread to Madhya Pradesh too where as many as 200 activists belonging to various fringe outfits 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.

The protests against Padmaavat have also spread to Madhya Pradesh as various fringe outfits staged demonstrations in Indore and other towns and blocked national a highway. 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. Heated arguments ensued between the protesters, who included members of Karni Sena, and the police when the Rajput group members tried to stop vehicles as part of their protest.

Various fringe outfits staged demonstrations in Indore and other Madhya Pradesh towns and blocked a national highway on Wednesday ahead of the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film ‘Padmaavat’.

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.

Heated arguments ensued between the protesters, who included members of Karni Sena, and the police when the Rajput group members tried to stop vehicles as part of their protest.

Additional superintendent of police Nagendra Singh said the situation has been brought under control.

Around 50 Karni Sena activists armed with sticks burnt an effigy of Bhansali, the film’s director, on Indore-Depalpur road, police said. The road was cleared after the protesters were given a warning. Agitations were also carried out in Sagar, Guna, Bhopal, Ratlam and other towns in Madhya Pradesh against the movie.

Maharashtra:

Around 50 supporters of Karni Sena were detained in Mumbai on Wednesday for protesting against the controversial film Padmaavat, an official said.

Protesters had set car tires ablaze during a demonstration in Mumbai on Tuesday. Radical groups have blocked roads and burned buses and toll boths in protests against the movie in recent days.

“We have detained around 50 supporters of Karni Sena so far in different parts of Mumbai. They were taken into custody when they gathered for protesting against the film,” a senior police official said. More people are likely to be taken into preventive custody, he said.

In Nashik, the police have detained around 20 activists of the Karni Sena for protesting against Padmaavat. A leader of the Rajput organisation had earlier threatened that the activists would take a ‘jal samadhi’ (drown themselves) in the Gangapur dam, located around 10 kms from the district headquarters.

The film has been facing protests by the Karni Sena and other fringe groups over allegations that historical facts were distorted in the movie.

Gujarat:

Theatre owners in Gujarat said that Padmaavat will not be screened in any of the multiplexes or single screens in the state till the row over the film is resolved, even as police arrested 50 people in connection with the violence outside malls here last night. The Gujarat Multiplex Owners Association said the decision has been taken for the safety of customers as well as to save their property.

Hundreds of protesters went on a rampage vandalising malls and torching vehicles in Ahmedabad and elsewhere over the past few days in a bid to stop the release of Padmaavat scheduled for Thursday.

Several hundred people attacked shops in malls, set alight 50 motorbikes and damaged more than 150 cars across the city, police said. Gujarat home minister Pradipsinh Jadeja said 10 people were arrested on Tuesday and would be “dealt with strictly”.

Police said the names of more than 500 suspects for rioting and unlawful assembly had been registered across Gujarat. At least 100 suspects had been detained and could face charges over the riots, a senior police officer in Ahmedabad told media.

“Their accounts, and CCTV footage from different areas, is being verified. Some of them may be arrested later,” the officer said on condition of anonymity.

UP and Delhi:

Noida witnessed multiple protests on Sunday. The protesters started at Grand Venice Mall, Greater Noida later spread to Noida- Greater Noida Expressway and DND toll plaza. Hundreds of members of the Karni Sena, a Rajput output vandalised the Delhi Noida Direct (DND) Toll Plaza.Delhi Police too is maintaining high security at the multiplexes and theatres across the city that are scheduled to show the movie.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court had allowed a country-wide release of the controversial movie on January 25. Despite the apex court’s decision, several organisations are protesting against the release and have warned exhibitors of “serious consequences” if they screen the film.

The Supreme Court last week paved the way for its nationwide release by staying the notifications and orders issued by Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat prohibiting exhibition of the film in the states. The apex court also restrained other states from issuing such notifications or orders banning the screening of the movie.

Rajasthan witnessed a spate of protests with protesters from fringe outfits taking out rallies, blocking roads and damaging vehicles in different parts of the state. Members of the Karni Sena damaged windows of two state roadways buses and blocked a road in Kalwar area in state capital Jaipur.

In a separate incident, a group of masked men in Delhi had come to pelt stones at the PVS mall. Police, meanwhile, are on the lookout for the men. “We will provide security to the mall at the time of screening of the film,” Chakrapani Tripathi, Circle Officer, Civil Lines said.

Heated arguments ensued between the protesters, who included members of Karni Sena, and the police when the Rajput group members tried to stop vehicles as part of their protest.

Around 50 Karni Sena activists armed with sticks burnt an effigy of Bhansali on Indore-Depalpur road, police said. A police officer said the road was cleared after the protesters were given a warning.

Agitations were also carried out in Sagar, Guna, Bhopal, Ratlam and other towns in Madhya Pradesh against the movie.

Theatre vandalised in Jammu

A group of men protesting against the movie vandalised a cinema theatre on Canal Road in Jammu and even tried to set it on fire.

The protesters broke furniture and other fixtures and lit the fire before theatre staff and onlookers doused the flames. Police chased away the mob.

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