Mumbai/Ahmedabad: Violence and protests were reported from parts of Haryana, Gujarat and Rajasthan a day before the release of "Padmaavat", even as security was tightened around movie theatres because - the three states had initially banned the movie.
The release of "Padmaavat" is scheduled for Thursday January 25 after it got the Supreme Court nod. The Apex Court had earlier directed the film producers to change the name of the film which was earlier titled as "Padmavati".
The Karni Sena has asked social organisations across the country to ensure that the movie can't be screened.
"January 25 may come and go but we won't let the film release, come what may," Karni Sena chief Lokendra Singh Kalvi said.
Maharashtra and Gujarat police have arrested many Karni Sena workers to keep the peace. Yet, protesters against the screening of the film blocked the Delhi-Jaipur highway Wednesday morning.
Besides Delhi-Jaipur highway, protesters also gathered on the Delhi-Ajmer highway and burnt tyres this morning. Sporadic violence was also reported from Rajasthan's Sikar, where a bus was stoned.
More than 150 four-wheelers and two-wheelers were damaged as mobs of around 2000 went on the rampage after 08:00 pm, targeting three malls with multiplexes and a standalone theatre complex in the western part of Ahmedabad.
Three city malls – Acropolis, Ahmedabad One, Himalaya Mall – and Cinemex, the standalone theatre complex, came under attack despite theatre owners in the city declaring they would not screen Padmaavat.
Police had to fire in the air to disperse the mob and use force in some places in Ujjain where the protesters turned violent.
In Gurgaon, prohibitory orders have been imposed here till Sunday to maintain law and order situation, in view of Shree Rajput Karni Sena threatening to target theatres screening the film.
There are over 40 multiplexes and cinema halls in Gurgaon. Karni Sena has been the most vociferous of the fringe groups opposing the period drama, alleging that historical facts were distorted in the movie.
However, the Haryana government has said that it would implement the Supreme Court order that allows the screening of the movie. Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh said, “Section 144 of the CrPC has been imposed in view of release of the ‘Padmaavat’ in various cinema halls and multiplexes on January 25 as there is likelihood of law and order disturbance.”
“Following imposition of Section 144, there is prohibition on presence of people carrying firearms and other articles capable of causing injury, raising slogans and exhibiting placards within 200 meters radius of the cinema halls and multiplexes from January 23 to January 28,” Singh said.
Protests took place parts of Uttar Pradesh too yesterday. Mobs went on rampage in Muzaffarnagar. In Kanpur, agitated members of a fringe group barged into a mall demanding a complete ban on the film. They tore film posters, damaged property and manhandled the mall staff, the police said.
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