JD (U) split over Padmaavat row

The ruling Janata Dal (United) in Bihar on Thursday appeared to be divided on the Padmaavat issue.

Party general secretary Shyam Razak termed those protesting against Sanjay Leela Bhansali's movie "illiterate".

"If a person protests without watching the movie, he should be construed as an 'unpadh' (illiterate),"  said Razak.

The MLA from Phulwarisharif, Razak's statement drew flak from within his party, with party spokesperson Ajay Alok ridiculing him for casting aspersions on the Rajput community.

"In public life, one should weigh his or her words carefully before issuing a statement on sensitive matters," said Alok, advising  his party leader to desist from making derogatory remarks  about the Rajputs.

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

At some places, even children were found brandishing swords. The protesters burnt tyres on NH-31 and NH-28, blocked state highways and disrupted movement of trains near Nalanda.

As a result, no theatre in Patna screened the movie, even though Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh  said  he was committed to comply with the  Supreme Court  directive "and anybody found indulging in violence would be dealt with sternly".

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