Location India India

The mythic queen provokes chaos on streets of India

On January 24 hundreds of protesters went on a rampage vandalising malls and torching cars in the Indian city of Ahmedabad in a bid to stop the release of a controversial Bollywood film scheduled for Thursday.

Groups critical of the film have accused its director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, of distorting history by portraying a Muslim ruler as the “lover” of the Hindu Queen Padmavati of the Rajput warrior clan, which the filmmakers deny. The filmmakers have repeatedly said the film takes its inspiration from an epic poem of the same name, but their assurances have failed to assuage the Karni Sena group.

India’s Supreme Court last week cleared the way for the film’s release and has blocked state governments from imposing bans on it.

Violence against «Padmaavat», a film about a mythical Hindu queen, started late Tuesday and went into the night in the main city of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat.

Several hundred people attacked shops in malls and set alight 50 motorbikes and damaged more than 150 cars across the city, police said.

Gujarat home minister Pradipsinh Jadeja said 10 people were arrested on Tuesday, taking overall detentions caused by the movie to more than 60 in 48 hours.

Police said the names of more than 500 suspects for rioting and unlawful assembly had been registered across Gujarat.

Karni Sena activists on Wednesday staged demonstrations in front of the district collectorate expressing their opposition to the Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat. Reiterating their demand of a ban on the release of the controversial film amidst fierce protests, the group staged a dharna.

A delegation of the members of Rajput community on Monday met city police commissioner Yashahvi Yadav and handed over a memorandum of their demand to him. In the memorandum, they raised their objection to the alleged distortion of the historical facts in the film and demanded to ban the release of the film.

Karni Sena members protest against the release of film Padmaavat at Beawar in Rajasthan on Wednesday. A day before the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmaavat, Rajasthan witnessed a spate of protests with protesters from fringe outfits taking out rallies, blocking roads and damaging vehicles in different parts of the state.

Members of the Karni Sena also damaged windows of two state roadways buses and blocked a road in Kalwar area in state capital Jaipur.

Karni Sena activists torched a car during a demonstration on Wednesday. The authorities immediately rushed fire brigade to douse the fire. Violent protests spread to towns and cities in many states including Rajasthan, Haryana, Maharashtra and UP, a day ahead of the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Padmaavat, as fringe groups opposing the film remained defiant.

A group of unruly men protesting against «Padmaavat» movie on Wednesday vandalized a cinema theatre in Jammu and even tried to set it on fire, police said. Bhansali’s controversial movie is likely to be screened on Thursday at the theatre on Canal Road.

The protesters broke furniture and other fixtures and lit the fire before theatre staff and onlookers doused the flames. Police chased away the mob.

On January 26 Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s «Padmaavat» has opened without incident; despite a slow start is expected to pull crowds over long weekend.

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