Five people were arrested in Gujarat on Thursday for allegedly vandalising a rangoli inspired by ṭ’s upcoming film Padmavati at a mall in Surat, the police said. They include four members of the Rajput Karni Sena and one from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, PTI reported.
A First Information Report was registered against a group of people on October 16 for destroying the rangoli created by a local artist, identified as Karan, at the Rahul Raj Mall in Surat on Sunday. In a video of the incidents, the miscreants can be heard shouting “Bhansali murdabad” and “Jai Shri Ram” as they ruin the artwork. The police arrested them based on this clip.
“More arrests are likely to be made as the video footage recovered by us shows eight to 10 persons involved in the activity,” Surat Commissioner of Police Satish Sharma told reporters. “I also want to make it clear that the police will deal with strictness against any such action. Freedom of expression is everyone’s right in a democracy, but vandalism will not be allowed.”
The five were arrested for unlawful assembly, trespassing and mischief causing damage under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
On Wednesday, actor Deepika Padukone, who stars in the movie, had called for action against the vandals. She had tagged Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani in her tweet to bring the incident to her attention.
“Absolutely heart breaking to see the recent attack on artist Karan and his artwork!” Padukone said on Twitter. “Disgusting and appalling to say the least!”
Members of the Rajput group have objected to Padmavati since shooting began and threatened to delay its release, claiming that the movie distorted history. In January, Bhansali was assaulted on the set of Padmavati in Jaipur in Rajasthan, after which the shoot was shifted to Maharashtra. The movie’s set in Kolhapur was set on fire in March.
Padmavati, starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, is slated for release on December 1.