Movie censorship

‘Padmaavat’ row: Karni Sena splinter group expels members who ‘withdrew’ protests against the movie

The group’s leader in Mumbai had said that a few of its members watched the movie on Friday and found that it glorifies Rajput valour.

A day after a few leaders of the Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena said that the group would withdraw its protests against Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmaavat, the patron of the Shri Rajput Karni Sena Lokendra Singh Kalvi claimed that his group’s opposition to the movie would continue. The other group is not the “real Karni Sena”, he said.

“There is some duplicity going on in the name of Karni Sena and eight such bodies have sprouted over the years,” the Hindustan Times quoted Kalvi as saying. “There are people giving statements on behalf of Karni Sena, but there is only one Karni Sena and our stand is clear that Padmaavat should not have been released.”

The Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena later announced that it had expelled those members in Mumbai who had watched the movie and announced that the protests had been withdrawn.

On Friday, the outfit’s leader in the city Yogendra Singh Katar had said that the group had accepted that the movie glorifies Rajput valour. A few of the outfit’s members had watched the movie on the directions of the organisation’s national president Sukhdev Singh Gogamadi, he claimed. Katar said they found that the movie glorifies the valour and sacrifice of Rajputs, and that “every Rajput would feel proud” after watching it.

The Karni Sena’ members had allegedly indulged in arson in Ahmedabad during protests ahead of the movie’s release. An unidentified mob also attacked a school bus in Gurugram on January 24. There were protests in other states, including Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. The Karni Sena had earlier threatened to behead the film’s director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and chop off actor Deepika Padukone’s nose.

The Karni Sena had been demanding a ban on the movie on the grounds that it ”distorts” historical facts and shows queen Padmini in a poor light. Four states – Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana banned the movie. However, the Supreme Court overturned these bans and the film was released on January 25.

On Friday, Katar said there were no “objectionable scenes” between queen Padmini and Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khilji in the film. In a letter, he said the Karni Sena would help the administrations in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh to release the film.

Rajasthan High Court to watch Padmaavat

The Rajasthan High Court on Friday asked the makers of Padmaavat to “discreetly” screen the movie before it on Monday, The Indian Express reported. The court said the “screening of the movie is essential for securing the ends of justice”.

The court’s direction came on a plea by Bhansali, Padukone and actor Ranveer Singh, who had asked for a First Information Report filed against them in 2017 to be quashed.

The bench ordered that the movie be screened discreetly in a suitable theatre on Monday, and listed the matter for hearing on Tuesday. It noted that the film had “already been released after due certification from the censor board” and that the Supreme Court had rejected a plea to ban it.

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