The mayors of Kathmandu and Pokhara have ordered cinema halls in their cities to stop the screening of all Hindi films, PTI reported.

The order came three days after Kathmandu Mayor Balendra Shah warned of imposing the ban unless the makers of Adipurush remove a line from the movie that refers to Sita as the “daughter of India”.

The film is an adaptation of the Hindu epic Ramayana. There are conflicting claims about the birthplace of Sita, with some versions saying that the deity was born in Sitamarhi in present-day India, and others saying that she was born in Janakpur in present-day Nepal.

Directed by Om Raut, the film stars Prabhas, Kriti Sanon, Saif Ali Khan, Sunny Singh and Devdutta Nage. It was released on Friday.

On Sunday, Shah said that no Hindi films will be allowed to be screened in the Kathmandu municipality area till the makers of Adipurush remove the objectionable part from the film, reported PTI.

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He added that the screening of the movie would help “establish a distorted fact” and would cause “irreparable damage to our nationality, cultural unity” and deal a “blow to our national heroes”.

“Three days ago we had called upon the makers of Adipurush to remove the objectionable section that shows Janaki as an Indian woman,” Shah wrote on Facebook. “Defence of Nepal’s sovereignty, independence, and self-respect is the first duty of all Nepalese governments, non-governmental organisations and Nepalese citizens.”

Soon after Shah’s announcement, Pokhara Metropolis Mayor Dhanaraj Acharya also followed suit, according to PTI.

Meanwhile, Kathmandu Metropolitan City Police Chief Raju Pandey said that the police are monitoring all the cinema halls in the city.

“While monitoring QFX Hall at Civil Mahal in Kathmandu... they said they will show Nepali and English movies instead of Hindi ones,” Pandey said, according to PTI. “We will not allow screening of Hindi movies until the KMC [Kathmandu Municipal Commission] authority gives permission.”

The Kathmandu mayor’s criticism of the film came weeks after political leaders in Nepal objected to a mural interpreted as “Akhand Bharat” or unified India, which is installed in the new Parliament complex in Delhi.

Nepali politicians had expressed objections to the mural as it showed Lumbini – the birthplace of the founder of Buddhism Gautama Buddha – as part of India. Nepal considers Lumbini as one of the major cultural centres on its map.

Subsequently, Shah installed a map of “Greater Nepal” in his office in an apparent counter to the mural.

Supporters of “Greater Nepal” believe that the Nepalese territory spread from Teesta river in the eastern Himalayas to Sutlej river in the west. However, both the territories now fall under India after Nepal signed the Treaty of Sugauli in 1816 which led to the demarcation of the international boundary between the two countries.

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