Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Sunday said All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam workers were not involved in incidents of vandalism and protests against Vijay-starrer Sarkar, which released on November 6, PTI reported.

“It was not the AIADMK, it was a protest by common people,” Palaniswami said at a press conference in Coimbatore. “Through the movie, schemes of the government are being criticised vehemently.”

Last week, the party cadre protested outside several theatres in Madurai, Salem, Coimbatore and Chennai and reportedly tore up movie posters. The protestors demanded the removal of a scene which depicted the ruling party’s practice of handing out televisions, laptops and household appliances to the poor as part of government schemes. In a cameo, the film’s director AR Murugadoss flings a mixer-grinder, one of these freebies, into the fire. Several ministers called for legal action against the movie’s cast and crew for allegedly portraying former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in a bad light, and for inciting violence.

Murugadoss, who moved the Madras High Court on Friday seeking anticipatory bail, was granted relief till November 27.

After the protests intensified, the movie’s production team agreed to remove the controversial scenes. The filmmakers also muted the name of a villain whose character was called Komalavalli, which was reportedly Jayalalithaa’s real name. The Central Board of Film Certification made three cuts and the new version was released on Friday.

Mocking party leaders and the policies introduced by them would anger any “self-respecting party member”, The News Minute quoted Palaniswami as saying. “It is wrong news that AIADMK members alone tore down banners... general public, too, expressed their dissent,” he said. “And because of it, those scenes were removed from the film.”

Palaniswami also questioned how the film was funded. Kalanithi Maran, who is related to the family that runs the Opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, has produced the movie. “They spend Rs 300 crore to Rs 500 crore to make a film, where does this money come from?” he asked.