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No ‘Padmaavat’ screening in Gujarat, paramilitary forces called in

As many as 118 people have been arrested so far across the state for damaging public property during protests against the film.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2018 09:54 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Ahmedabad
Padmaavat,Padmaavat protests,Karni Sena
Rapid Action Force (RAF) take part in flag march after the members of the Rajput community broke shops during a protest against the release of Sanjay Leela Bansali's film Padmaavat, in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. (PTI Photo)

A day ahead of the nationwide release of “Padmaavat” and the bandh call given by the Rajput Karni Sena opposing it, theatre owners in Gujarat said they would not screen the film following the violence outside three multiplexes in the city. (Padmaavat protests LIVE)

While the state government said most Rajput groups in Gujarat have agreed not to join the nationwide bandh (general strike) Thursday, a large number of police personnel along with paramilitary forces have been deployed across the state.

As many as 118 people have been arrested so far across the state for damaging public property during protests against the film, said in-charge director general of police Pramod Kumar.

Over 20,000 policemen as well as paramilitary personnel have been deployed across the state, he said.

“During protests, 21 state transport buses were either vandalised or set ablaze. Till now, we have arrested 118 persons and detained another 300,” the DGP told reporters in Gandhinagar.

Sixteen companies of paramilitary forces, such as BSF and Rapid Action Force (RAF), have been provided by the Centre.

“We were already given four companies of RAF two days back. Now we have 12 more companies of paramilitary forces to maintain law and order. These forces are in addition to nine companies of State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) and around 19,000 Lok Rakshaks and Home Guards,” said Kumar.

After the large-scale violence yesterday, the Gujarat Multiplex Owners Association announced that the film will not be released at any multiplex.

“Following yesterday’s violence, all the multiplexes in Gujarat have unanimously decided not to screen the film till the matter is resolved. We have taken the decision for the safety of our customers as well as to save our property,” said the association’s president, Manubhai Patel.

The owners of single-screen theatres too have informed the association that they will not screen the film, he said.

“Though police have given us security, we do not want to take any chances. What if protesters enter the theatre after buying tickets?” Patel said.

“Though each multiplex will incur a loss of around Rs 40 lakh (expected during the average run of a film), we will not screen the film until the issue is resolved,” he said.

Gujarat Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama and Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja held a meeting with representatives of various Rajput organisations in Gandhinagar to seek their support in maintaining peace.

After the meeting, Chudasama said that Rajput organisations in Gujarat will not be taking part in tomorrow’s bandh.

Representatives of Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena, Mahakal Sena, Gujarat Kshatriya Sabha and Surya Sena were among those who attended the meeting, Chudasama said.

“All of them have given assurance that their organisations will not join the Bandh tomorrow. They have realised that since no theatre in Gujarat will screen the film tomorrow, the issue is over here. I thank all these leaders for their efforts in maintaining a peaceful atmosphere,” said Chudasama.

Schools, colleges will remain open and public transport will remain functional tomorrow, he said.

However, the Rajput Karni Sena, led by Lokendra Singh Kalvi, which has given the call for nation-wide bandh, remained defiant.

“We did not attend the meeting with Chudasama... We have not withdrawn the Bandh call...We will observe the bandh in a peaceful manner,” said the Gujarat in-charge of Karni Sena, Meghsinh Shekhawat.

Protesters opposing the release of the controversial film torched at least 30 motorcycles and damaged several other vehicles parked outside three city malls last night.

First Published: Jan 25, 2018 09:43 IST