Padmaavat violence: Tight security in several states, including Delhi as the film released on Thursday
- "Padmaavat" released on Thursday amid protests in several states
- High alert in several states after protesters pledged to disrupt release
- Fearing violence, multiplex owners in 4 states won't screen film
One million people watched "Padmaavat" on its opening day, the film's maker Viacom 18 Motion said on Friday as it released across the country amid tight security at cinema halls. Fringe groups like the Karni Sena continued protests in parts of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, blocking roads and holding rallies and union Minister VK Singh has suggested that the states initiate dialogue with the protesters. The Supreme Court has said it will hear on Monday, a petition that seeks action against four states which failed to control rampaging protesters yesterday despite a court order. Eighteen people have been arrested for Wednesday's attack on a school bus in Haryana's Gurgaon, which triggered outrage across the country.
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Protests took place today in Rajasthan and Uttarakhand. In Udaipur, protesters tried to force shops to shut down. One protester tried to immolate himself. In Uttarakhand's Rishikesh, there were reports of protesters clashing with the police outside a movie hall.
Protests were held in pockets of Uttar Pradesh, including Muzaffarnagar, Agra, and Mughalsarai. In Lucknow, Karni Sena members stood outside movie halls and asked cine-goers to boycott the film. Top police officers in the state had been told by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to ensure that the screening of the film is peaceful and take tough measures against anyone breaking the law.
A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking action against Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana for disobeying court orders on "Padmaavat". Refusing to ban the Rs 190-crore movie earlier this week, the court had ordered states to ensure security ahead of its release. Another petition seeks contempt action against the Karni Sena.
Union Minister VK Singh said it is the state governments' duty to ensure peaceful screening of "Padmaavat" and suggested that stakeholders should initiate a dialogue. "There is a need for us to have dialogue and sort out the differences in an amicable manner," the minister said in a series of tweets.
Sources in the home ministry said law and order is a state subject and "they should be able to tackle issue at their end". No state has asked for paramilitary forces. "Some asked for Rapid Action Force which was stationed in states. We allowed them to use them," an official said.
In Haryana's Gurgaon, adjacent to Delhi, top schools including Pathways, Shiv Nadar School, Delhi Public School and GD Goenka World School, remained closed after protesters threw stones at a school bus yesterday. A cellphone video showed teachers and students cowering on the bus floor as shards of broken glass from the windows filled the seats.The Karni Sena has denied any role in the attack.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is in Davos for the annual meeting of the World Economic Summit, condemned the school bus attack. He, however, said, "there are also incidents which are blown out of proportion". Calling it a "worrying incident",Haryana minister Anil Vij said, "It was not right to attack kids...arrests have been made".
Violence had unfolded across 6 states yesterday as mobs targeted cinema theatres and malls. A train was stopped in UP and the Delhi-Jaipur highway and other roads were blocked. In Gurgaon, a bus was set on fire. In parts of UP, protesters forced shops and markets to shut down. A mob was lathi-charged in Etawah. Protesters set afire a ticket booth in Jammu.
Citing the law and order situation, the Multiplex Association of India, which represents about 75 per cent of multiplex owners in the country, said the film will not be screened in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Goa. In Rajasthan too, distributors refused to screen "Padmaavat" citing protests.
The protesters allege the film distorts history and shows Padmini in a poor light. The film, starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapur, was cleared by the censor board after a number of edits and a change of title from Padmavati to Padmaavat.