Dozens of people, believed to be Karni Sena members, vandalised a mall and torched vehicles in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad on Tuesday evening, to protest against the release of the film Padmaavat, ANI reported. Police opened fire to control the mob on the SG highway in Ahmedabad, The Hindu reported.
The mall manager, Rakesh Mehta, told the news agency that the men attacked the mall even though it had displayed boards outside saying the film will not be screened there.
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said the government will not allow anyone to resort to violence, The Hindu reported. “Police will stake stern action,” he said.
The violent protests come hours after the Supreme Court said it will not modify its order lifting the ban on the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film in four states. The governments of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat said they would not allow Padmaavat to be screened, even after the censor board cleared the film for release.
On Tuesday, a Hindutva outfit in New Delhi also threatened cinema hall owners with “aggressive demonstrations” if theatres screened the film. The group, the Hindu Sena, said it has formed 10 teams to stop the screening of the film in the national Capital.
Padmaavat’s release and certification were delayed and stalled because of repeated protests and threats of violence by Rajput groups led by the Rajput Karni Sena. Protestors said the film had distorted the “history of Hindus” and had insulted Queen Padmini. Most historians believe Padmini was a mythical character and never existed in reality, but Rajput and right-wing groups say otherwise.