Violence hits India before release of ‘Padmaavat’

Violence hits India before release of ‘Padmaavat’

Rajputs and the Hindus are outraged over film, which shows romance between Muslim king and Hindu queen

By Shuriah Niazi

NEW DELHI, India (AA) - Violence and protests have been reported from different parts of India on Wednesday, a day before the release of controversial film “Padmaavat” in the country.

Police in Mumbai have detained 50 members of Karni Sena, a group representing the Rajput community, for protesting against the release of the movie outside theatres.

The Rajput caste and the Hindus are outraged that the film shows the romance between a Muslim king and a Hindu queen and hurts the dignity and respect of Rajputs.

“We have detained around 50 supporters of Karni Sena so far in different parts of Mumbai. They were taken into custody when they gathered for a protest against the film,” a senior police official told Press Trust of India.

He also said that more people are likely to be taken into preventive custody.

In the western state of Gujarat, more than 200 vehicles were either damaged or torched by the protesters outside three multiplexes, which had planned to screen the movie, local broadcaster NDTV reported.

A mall was vandalized in Meerut town of northern Uttar Pradesh state. Members of Karni Sena also protested outside a cinema hall in the state capital Lucknow.

In Haryana state, the administration has banned protests within a 200-meter radius of movie halls till Sunday, NDTV said in a report. The protesters have also torched a bus in Sohna village.

- Road blockade

Traffic was disrupted in Delhi-Jaipur highway on Wednesday as protesters blocked the road in another northern state of Rajasthan. Some theaters were also attacked in the state.

According to Indian Express, Karni Sena chief Lokendra Singh Kalvi was arrested by the police on Tuesday night after the unit announced that 1,900 women of its community would commit mass immolation over the release of Padmaavat.

“We have decided to block the release of the movie. Under any circumstances, theatre owners will not be allowed to screen the movie,” said Rajpratap Singh, the spokesman of Karni Sena, told Anadolu Agency.

The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday cleared the way for the release of the movie across the country. It rejected a final attempt by Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh governments to ban the movie.

The film tells the story of a 14th-century Hindu queen Padmavati belonging to the high Rajput caste and Alauddin Khalji, the second ruler of the Khalji dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate.

Padmavati is a fictional queen in the epic eponymous poem written by 16th-century poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi. The poem eulogizes the valor and sacrifice of Padmavati, the queen of Chittor, who burns herself alive to escape invading Muslim emperor Khalji after he killed her husband in a battle.

Bollywood stars Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh play the roles of Padmavati and Sultan Alauddin Khalji in the film produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

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