Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s period drama, Padmaavat set to release on 25 January across the country, has turned out to be a minefield of controversies. Despite clearance from the CBFC and the Supreme Court verdict, protests led by fringe groups continue to be staged against its screening in parts of the country.
In Gujarat (the BJP ruled state that had banned the release of the film before the SC judgement) these agitations took a violent turn on Sunday as protestors burned buses and hurled stones in Gandhinagar, Mehsana and Ahmedabad districts of the state.
The Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation suspended its services in northern parts of the state. State Reserve Police (SRP) and the Rapid Action Force (RAF) were deployed to tackle the situation.
A notification was issued by the Ahmedabad Police Commissioner, stating that those protesting near multiplexes, malls will be booked under section 308 of IPC (attempt to commit culpable homicide).
Karni Sena members had reportedly distributed a memorandum in all the theatres asking them not to screen the movie. They even made a threatening statement.
"“Wait and watch what happens on 25th.”" - Karni Sena members
The protesters also attempted to block roads by burning tyres in some parts of Banaskantha, Mehsana, Surendranagar and Bhuj.
"“During the last 48 hours, some people in the garb of holding protests, have tried to disturb peace in the state by engaging in arson, damaging property and by blocking roads. As many as eight buses have been either set ablaze or damaged in north Gujarat during this period. In view of the current situation, I have asked police officials to take a stern action against the perpetrators.”" - The state in-charge DGP Pramod Kumar
Senior state minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama termed such protests as "natural" and said that the government was looking for a legal opinion following the Supreme Court's order.
"“If a you distort historical facts and present it in a movie, it is quite natural that people will protest.”" - Senior state minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama
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