People flock to Padmaavat as fringe groups protest

Karni Sena says agitation will continue
Last Updated : 25 January 2018, 19:42 IST
Last Updated : 25 January 2018, 19:42 IST

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As 'Padmaavat' opened to packed houses across the country on Thursday, the Karni Sena, which is leading the agitation against the movie, announced that the protests will continue.

Clearly hinting that there will be no climb down in their protests, the Rajput outfit said the next course of action will be announced on January 28.

Incidents of violence against the film continued on Thursday though it was restricted to parts of Rajasthan and Bihar.

Addressing media persons in Jaipur, Karni Sena chief Lokendra Singh Kavi said, "We will be on the roads for another three days and after this, we will decide the future course of action. Nothing can stop us from protesting."

Meanwhile, in a fitting response to the protests, director Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film saw roaring business in single and multiplex screens across the country but amid tight security.

The Rs 150 crore film was released in 4,000 screens across the country as the audiences defied threats of violence and streamed into single and multi-screen theatres.

The film, based on the saga of the historic 13th century battle between Maharaja Ratan Singh of Mewar and Sultan Alauddin Khilji of Delhi, has faced protests from fringe Rajput groups, which say the film distorts history and shows Queen Padmavati in "poor light".

Violence in North

Even as the film was released to an enthusiastic audience, it did not stop protesters from rampaging property in different parts of north India.

While parts of Rajasthan and Bihar witnessed violence, the tension was palpable in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat. Scores of Rajput groups led by Karni Sena were arrested in different states.

In Rajasthan's Udaipur, police baton-charged protesters outside a cinema hall. Protesters vandalised shops along the Chittorgarh-Udaipur highway. The Karni Sena members took out a march in Jaipur.

In Haryana, the police arrested 31 people, including five suspects who, among others, were involved in an attack on a school bus in Gurugram on Tuesday.

They also detained BJP leader and Karni Sena member Suraj Pal Amu - who had announced a Rs 10 lakh bounty for anyone who beheaded Bhansali - in wake of threats to disrupt film screening.

In Chandigarh, the Shiv Sena members raised slogans against the film and tried to storm a popular mall on the outskirts of the city. The police acted swiftly, thwarting attempts by the protesters.

In Gurugram, schools were closed following Wednesday's violence but many multiplexes screened the film.

In Bihar, activists of Karni Sena and Rajput Mahasabha indulged in large-scale protests throughout the state, including in Patna, Muzaffarpur, Purnia, Gaya, Motihari, Chapra, Ara and Sasaram.

As a consequence, no theatre in Patna screened the movie.

Gujarat witnessed a bandh, called by Karni Sena, but it evoked a tepid response. The state witnessed sporadic violence on Wednesday.

In Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi, an immolation bid by a man was thwarted outside a mall.

Madhya Pradesh, too, saw sporadic violence, but the film was not released there.

Published 25 January 2018, 19:16 IST

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