'Padmaavat' was on Thursday screened in Uttar Pradesh amid tight security even as members of the Rajput outfits resorted to widespread violence at many places forcing the cinema hall owners to cancel the shows and also hurled petrol bombs on at least two malls.
Police resorted to lathi charge on violent protesters at some places and rounded up around two dozen hooligans, including the UP unit president of Karni Sena, Karn Singh, who was spearheading the protests against the movie. Singh was apprehended from Kasna in Noida, police said.
Police sources said that the film was screened amid tight security arrangements in Lucknow, Allahabad, Agra, Bareilly, Moradabad and some other cities. According to the reports the movie evoked a good response and all the shows were houseful.
Some cinema hall owners, however, refused to screen the film citing lack of security arrangements. Reports said that the movie was not screened at Shahjahanpur, Etawah, Kanpur, Mathura and some other places after mobs targeted the theaters and threatened the owners with dire consequences. Rajput outfits thrashed the owner of a cinema hall in Sitapur and damaged his vehicle.
Police sources said that a cinema hall was vandalised in Hapur town while window panes of some shops were broken at a mall in Meerut.
Protesters took out marches at Varanasi, Bhadohi, Allahabad, Gorakhpur, Mathura, Kanpur and other places shouting slogans against the film, police said here.
BJP workers and leaders were seen at many of the protest demonstrations in eastern UP districts, sources said. The protesters were also joined by saffron outfits like Bajarang Dal, sources added.
The opposition parties slammed the Yogi Adityanath government for what they alleged allowing the hooligans to have a free run and charged that the cops remained mute spectators as BJP leaders had joined the protests.
''BJP leaders have joined the protests...it is ironical that the ruling party itself is contributing to the chaos and lawlessness,'' Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Akhilesh Yadav said on Thursday.