Jaipur/Mumbai: A school bus was attacked in Gurgaon, a fringe outfit in UP declared a bounty on Deepika Padukone’s nose while roads were blocked at many places as violence spread to several states a day ahead of the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Padmaavat’.
In Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur, a fringe outfit, the Kanpur Kshatriya Mahasabha, announced a cash reward for anyone who chops off actor Padukone’s nose. Padukone plays legendary queen Padmavati in the film.
“We have collected crores of rupees from Kanpurites to be given as a reward to anyone who will bring the chopped nose of Deepika Padukone,” its president Gajendra Singh Rajawat said in Kanpur.
Karni Sena members protesting the movie allegedly damaged two state roadways buses in Jaipur and blocked a road in the city’s Kalwar area while scores of activists were held in Mumbai and Nashik.
A bus was torched and a highway blocked in Haryana’s Gurgaon where protesters violated prohibitory orders while the police had to use force to disperse an agitating mob in Lucknow.
“During protests, 21 state transport buses were either vandalised or set ablaze. Till now, we have arrested 118 people and detained another 300,” the DGP told reporters in Gandhinagar.
With the fringe outfits opposing the movie remaining defiant, the Multiplex Association of India, which represents about 75% of multiplex owners, said the film would not be screened in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Goa.
Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said no theatre in the state is ready to screen the movie.
The film, however, found support in West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who said she will be happy if it is screened in the state as the Supreme Court order must be respected.
“It is a film. The name of the film has also been changed. The states where trouble broke out are ruled by BJP,” she told reporters at the state secretariat in Kolkata.
Gurugram, meanwhile, witnessed one of the most shocking incidents, when a mob in its frenzy attacked a school bus.
Around 25 students of GD Goenka World School were on their way home when a group of around 60 activists, believed to be members of a fringe group, attacked the bus with bamboo sticks asking the driver to stop the vehicle.
When he did not comply, they pelted the vehicle with stones. A school bus staffer asked the kids to crawl under seats for safety and directed the driver to not stop it, Ravinder Kumar, PRO, Gurugram Police said.
In Madhya Pradesh’s Ratlam, 27 women members of Rajput Karni Sena submitted letters to the district administration urging President Ram Nath Kovind to stop the film or permit them to end their lives.
“We demanded that the president should either grant permission to us to embrace death, as we are not able to protect the honour of Rani Padmavati or else stop the movie from release,” Rajput Karni Sena’s Ratlam district women’s wing vice president Mangla Deora said.
Nearly 200 protesters blocked National Highway-3, which links Agra with Mumbai, near Pigdambar crossing in Kishanganj area in Indore district and broke glass bottles on the road, police said.
A theatre was vandalised in Jammu while there were protests in Gorakhpur also.
As protests raged, a defiant Shree Rajput Karni Sena, which has been spearheading the opposition to the flick, sought to pin the blame on director Bhansali.
The fringe outfit’s chief patron Lokendra Singh Kalvi insisted that a ‘Janta curfew’ will be imposed on theatres that screen the movie.
He claimed that Shiv Sena leaders had assured the Karni Sena of support on the issue in Maharashtra.
Striking a defiant pose, the Karni Sena leader said that he and other outfit leaders may be arrested and bullets fired but the protest would continue in states like Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.