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Gurgaon: Karni Sena grounds city traffic, seeks ban on Padmaavat screening

Residents on weekend outings stranded as fringe group members threaten theatre owners

gurgaon Updated: Jan 21, 2018 23:42 IST
Leena Dhankhar
Leena Dhankhar
Hindustan Times
Padmaavat,Gurugram,Sohna Road jam packed
Members of Shri Rajput Karni Sena block traffic on Sohna Road on Sunday.(HT PHOTO)

Residents from Sohna and MG Road were caught up in a snarl for over half-an-hour on Sunday after hundreds of members of Shri Rajput Karni Sena held up traffic and shouted slogans seeking a ban on the screening of filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhanshali’s upcoming release Padmaavat in Gurgaon’s movie theatres.

As members of the fringe group massed on the roads, traffic came to a crawl outside popular city malls, which have multiplexes.

The movie is set to release on January 25.

Several residents, who had taken their families to malls and other city hot spots for a weekend outing, had to return midway through their journey after they spotted a band of slogan-shouting band of youths on bikes. Armed with sticks, they blocked roads and held up traffic. The protest continued till 3pm. The fringe group members threatened to return with more numbers on January 25.

The members claimed factual inaccuracies in the movie and said that the romance between Alauddin Khilji, the ruler of the Khilji dynasty, and Rani Padmavati, as allegedly portrayed in the movie, never happened.

Jitender Singh Chauhan, who introduced himself as the national executive member of Shri Rajput Karni Sena, warned owners and operators of movie theatres and multiplexes on MG Road and Sohna Road against screening the movie. He said that while they held a peaceful protest on Sunday, things could turn grim if their demand isn’t met.

However, Arun Chauhan, a representative of Shri Rajput Karni Sena a group led by Lokendra Kalvi in Gurgaon, claimed that the protest was organised by their faction.He said the members handed pamphlets to multiplex owners warning them against screening the movie. Kalvi said he will hold a press conference on Monday.

Several residents, who were out with their children at malls on Sohna Road, rushed back home after spotting baton-wielding youths on bikes.

“We had bought tickets for a movie, but missed the show. Although the mall is barely a kilometre away from our gate, we got stuck on the road because of the protest. My children were scared after sighting youths on bikes holding lathis,” Hemant Sharma, a resident of Uppal Southend, said.

Read I Karni Sena warns cinema halls against screening Padmavati

“I was on my way to a mall with my two children when I saw the protesters. They were shouting slogans and warned of bigger protests if the movie is screened at the theatres,” Somali Bajaj, a resident of Malibu Towne, Sector 50, said.

Residents said they are giving second thoughts to catching the movie on January 25, as the members of the fringe group threatened the mall managements with dire consequences if they allow screening of the movie in their multiplexes.

The police said no damage to property was reported during the Karni protest. There were adequate police deployments in locations where the protesters tried to create a ruckus.

Haryana director general of police BS Sandhu, who was in Bhondsi on Sunday for the inauguration of a special task force, said violence on the streets will not be tolerated and they are ready to ensure law and order on the day of the film’s release.

“The Supreme Court has cleared the release of the movie. We won’t tolerate any attempt to stall the screening of the movie in the state,” Sandhu said.

First Published: Jan 21, 2018 23:06 IST