Padmaavat controversy Highlights: Rajput leader Suraj Pal Amu detained, Pakistan clears film without cuts
Period drama ‘Padmaavat’ finally opened on Thursday amid heightened security owing to fears of widespread riots. Police are on high alert across several states after protesters pledged to disrupt the release of the movie, a Bollywood epic about a Hindu queen.
Violent protests escalated this week with hundreds of demonstrators rampaging through the streets of Ahmedabad. Acts of vandalism were reported from Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana on Wednesday.
A school bus was vandalised in Gurgaon while a Haryana Roadways bus was torched on Wednesday.
State police chiefs promised increased protection for cinema halls on Thursday but the movie will not be screened in the BJP-ruled states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Goa, the Multiplex Association of India said.
Here are Padmaavat updates:
7:53 pm: Supreme Court agrees to hear two pleas seeking contempt action against four state governments and Shree Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena for allegedly violating its order allowing nationwide release of Padmaavat.
7:19 pm: President Ram Nath Kovind made a veiled attack on the protests against Padmaavat, saying disagreements should not mock a fellow citizen’s dignity and personal space.
“A civic-minded nation is built by civic-minded neighbourhoods, whether in our cities or our villages. Where we respect the next-door person’s space, privacy and rights. Where we do not inconvenience our neighbours while celebrating a festival or while resorting to a protest or on any other occasion.
“Where one can disagree with another viewpoint - or even with a historical context - without mocking a fellow citizen’s dignity and personal space. This is fraternity in action,” said Kovind.
6: 35 pm: Hindu outfits and the Karni Sena in Chennai and Coimbatore stage protest against screening of Padmaavat.
Activists of Sri Ram Sena and Hindu Sena protested in front of a cineplex, Sathyam cinemas, where the film was released, amid tight police security.
6:33 pm: Delhi Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia says he will watch the film with Rajput leaders like him and brief the people about it later.
“I am myself a Rajput. I was totally moved because of yesterday’s (Wednesday) incident. This is a criminal act. I invited many Rajput leaders to discuss the recent developments and the violence (centering the movie). We are totally against these acts,” Sisodia told reporters.
6:31 pm: Two youths who tried to protest during a Padamavati show at a screening hall in Gorakhpur were arrested.
6:30 pm: Acclaimed tabla maestro Zakir Hussain downplays the “Padmaavat” controversy, and dubbed it is as media hype, over-emphasised for “TRPs and to sell the newspapers”.
“There are more important issues at hand like environment that deserve more coverage,” he said on the sidelines of Zee Jaipur Literature Festival, while also urging people to concentrate on the issues of hygiene and healthcare.
6:04 pm: Pakistan censor board clears the controversial Padmaavat without any cuts for screening in the country.
“Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) has declared a feature film containing Indian cast and crew, ‘Padmaavat’, without any excision suitable for public exhibition in the cinemas with a ‘U’ certification,” CBFC) chairman Mobashir Hasan wrote on Twitter.
With the clearance, the period drama is all set to be released in Pakistan, removing fears that the film could face cuts due to the negative portrayal of Alauddin Khilji.
5:44 pm: Schools in Gujarat’s Mahisagar district asked not to use ‘Padmaavat’ songs in Republic Day events.
5:37 pm: Moviegoers in Gurgaon watched Padmaavat on its opening day even as the police made elaborate arrangements to ensure there was no mischief.
Over 40 multiplexes and theatres exhibited the film and the situation was peaceful, a police official said.
5:32 pm: A Gurgaon court has sent 10 accused involved in Bhondsi violence to judicial custody whereas 8 juvenile were sent to Observation home in Faridabad.
Police also arrested 5 persons in connection with violence at Kherki Daula whereas 7 more were arrested under preventive measures.
5:29 pm: Over 100 people belonging to different outfits were today arrested while participating in protests against the film “Padmaavat” in some major cities of Chhattisgarh, police said.
5:20 pm: Suraj Pal Amu taken into preventive detention, reports ANI.
Suraj Pal Amu was the chief media coordinator of BJP’s Haryana unit and had offered a Rs 10 crore bounty for beheading Deepika Padukone and Sanjay Leela Bhansali in November, 2017. He resigned from his post after he was served a showcause notice for his remarks.
5:19 pm: The movie was released without any untoward incident in Nashik.
5:14 pm: Padmaavat was not screened in Rajasthan. Around 179 threaters in the state didn’t screen the movie.
5:06 pm: The owner of a multiplex was allegedly beaten up by a group of activists opposing the screening of ‘Padmaavat’ in Sitapur in UP, reports PTI.
4:54 pm: A PIL was filed in the Punjab and Haryana high court, seeking action against Karni Sena activists for “disturbing peace” in the wake of the release of Padmaavat.
4:40 pm: Bihar ADG (HQ) Sanjeev Kumar Singhal says police HQ issued detailed guidelines stating protection to be provided to people screening and watching Padmaavat.
“So far protests have been done within the law. If there’s an untoward incident we’ll take action,” said Bihar ADG (HQ)
4:30 pm: A dhaba vandalised in Dewas, Maxi bypass in Madhya Pradesh in protest against Padmaavat.
4:27 pm: Former Rajasthan governor Margaret Alva says decision regarding watching the film ‘Padmaavat’ should be left to individuals.
“I go with the supreme court’s decision which has asked the states to maintain law and order. What if the film is not being screened here, it is released in the country and those who want to see the film would go to other states to see it and those who do not want to see would not go,” Alva told reporters here in Jaipur Literature Festival.
4:24 pm: Centre says maintenance of law and order is the responsibility of state governments.
The central government has nothing to do with it except providing central forces, a senior home ministry official said.
4:19 pm: Congress asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak about and take moral responsibility for the violence unleashed in the name of protests against the movie.
“It shows that the BJP governments, both in Centre and the states, have failed. It is condemnable that neither the Prime Minister is speaking about it nor is anyone from his government... All the state governments are silent. Why this silence? Who is responsible for the law and order? said Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi.
4:21 pm: Rajasthan home minister Gulab Chand Kataria says only two minor incidents have been reported in Jalore and Udaipur and if multiplexes ask for protection, it will be given to them.
Law&order situation is peaceful across the state.... Appeal people to protest peacefully, not take law into their hands: Kararia.
4:15 pm: Padmaavat opened in 129 theatres in and around Kolkata, reports PTI.
The shows are running smoothly everywhere in the city with no sign of protest anywhere, a police officer said.
4:02 pm: Cinema and multiplex owners at some places including Sonipat, Yamunanagar, Panchkula, Sirsa, Karnal, Kurukshetra and Fatehabad in Haryana refused to screen the period drama.
The movie was released in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, amid tight security arrangements.
3:46 pm: A section of historians state that the filmmaker misses the mark, not in portraying Padmavati, a role played by Deepika Padukone, but in painting the Alauddin Khilji as a barbarian, reports PTI.
3:46 pm: Haryana DGP says all theatres have been provided with adequate protection and govt is providing full protection to those ready to screen Padmavaat.
3:45 pm: 18 people have been arrested in connection with attack on a school bus and torching of a Haryana Roadways bus in Gurugram yesterday, case registered: BS Sandhu, DGP Haryana.
3:36pm: Accused in the case where a Haryana Roadways bus was torched on Wednesday at Gurgaon’s Sohna Road sent to 14 days of judicial custody by Sohna court.
3:35pm: Ministry of home affairs is keeping a track of incidents around the release of Padmaavat and is in touch with all the states over security measures. So far, two states have asked for help from the Centre,” say sources in the ministry: ANI.
3:15pm: Mob attacks a cinema hall in Nalanda district’s Bihar Sharif, tears up posters of the film, damages vehicles and threatens to set ablaze the theatre if the film is screened. In Bhojpur and Buxar districts, activists of Karni Sena along with Rajpur Mahasabha stage violent protests, forcing cinema owners not to screen the film
3:06pm: In some cinema halls, like the Satyam cineplex in west Delhi, the entire front row was occupied by uniformed security personnel. The hall also had bouncers.
3:05pm: While the occupancy in Delhi for the movie was around 60-70% for the first show at 9am, in Mumbai it was lower at 40-45%. Shows later in the day, including late night, are almost packed.
3:00pm: “Please go through the CCTV camera footage of protests in the state capital and you will know who are behind the protests,” says Akhilesh Yadav, blames the BJP for “vitiating the atmosphere” in the country.
2:59pm: BJP men involved in protests against Padmaavat, says Samajwadi party chief Akhilesh Yadav. “On one hand, they (BJP) are protesting, and on the other hand, they are pretending to control the situation arising out of the protests.”
2:55pm: Padmaavat shows screened at PVR in Gurgaon even though cancellation circulars were put in the morning. The circulars were removed around noon and people started queueing up outside the ticket counters. However, PVR authorities declined to give any official comment on the matter.
2:25pm: BJP-led state governments failed to act against protestors for political gains, says Congress.
2:00pm: Meeting between Madhya Pradesh chief minister and cine owners’ association comes to an end without any result, say association members. Padmaavat will not be released in the state on Friday too, they added.
1:45pm: Cinema hall managers in Haryana and Punjab say the film is getting a good response from the people. “We normally have 5-6 shows every day for films. But for Padmaavat, we have 12 shows daily in view of the high demand,” a cinema hall owner in Sirsa, Haryana, says.
1:40pm: “They killed Muslims, burnt Dalits alive, thrashed them. Today, they have started pelting our children with stones, have started intruding into our comes. Don’t remain silent now, speak up,” says Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Gurgaon bus attack.
1:19pm: Padmaavat released in about 300 theatres across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, no untoward incident reported from anywhere till noon, officials say. BJP MLA and Rajput leader Raja Singh withdraws his proposed plan to protest and asks followers to maintain restraint.
1:18pm: Protestors blocked the Kota-Bundi highway. There were also reports of a blockade on the Udaipur-Chittorgarh road and traffic being disrupted on Dungarpur-Ahmedabad road. About two dozen shops were damaged in stone pelting incidents in Udaipur.
1:15pm: Congress leader P Chidambaram says on the day when PM Narendra Modi invited the world to invest in India, Ahmedabad was hit by mob violence.
1:10pm: Clashes break out between police officials and the Bajrang Dal workers outside a cinema hall in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand.
1:00pm: “Yesterday, some people pelted stones on school children in Gurgaon. I couldn’t sleep the entire night. If our children are pelted with stones on Republic Day’s eve, a few km away from the nation’s capital, it is a matter of shame for the entire nation,” says Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
12:48pm: The nationwide bandh call given by the Karni Sena fails to make any major impact in Gujarat, as educational institutions, offices and markets remained open in most parts of the state.
12:40pm: Man tries to self-immolate outside a cinema hall in Varanasi, detained by police: ANI.
12: 36pm: Congress describes attempts to block the screening of Padmaavat as “reprehensible”. Questions the silence of information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani on the issue.
12:35pm: The Shree Rajput Karni Sena denies any role in stone pelting at a school bus in Gurgaon. “Rajputs can never even think of attacking a school bus. This is a plot being created by politicians, who wish to weaken our peaceful protest,” says Vijendra Singh, Karni Sena spokesperson.
12:34pm: Karni Sena members protest at Lucknow’s Novelty cinema by presenting roses to people, asking to them to not watch the film. A protestor says, “We will also compensate the money of the tickets in case people have already bought them.”
12:30pm: “This is nothing but ‘pakoda’ politics practised by the BJP. The Prime Minister and his party have surrendered before these people who are protesting. He has a 56-inch chest only for Muslims,” says Asaduddin Owaisi of AIMIM: ANI.
12:22pm: No untoward incidents or protests reported from Chittorgarh district of Rajasthan. Entry to Chittorgarh fort opens for tourists amid heavy police security.
12:20pm: 18 people arrested in connection with Wednesday’s attack on a school bus in Guragon. The accused will be brought to Sohna Court later today: ANI.
12:10pm: “It is a worrying incident, and I am sure there will come a solution to the whole issue today. We did not anticipate such kind of a situation,” says Haryana minister Ram Bilas Sharma on Gurgaon’s bus attack.
12:00pm: Majority of cinema halls in Bihar refuse to screen the movie, fearing vandalism. Roads were blocked at more than half a dozen places in the state while protestors blocked train movement at Chapra, Nalanda and Gaya.
11:40am: Protestors brandish swords, burn tyres in protest against Padmaavat in Muzaffarpur: ANI.
11:35am: Two people have been taken into custody after creating a ruckus and burning vehicles in protest against the film in Bhopal.
11:30am: Karni Sena members stage protest against Padmaavat in Jaipur.
11:25am: Rajasthan unit of the RSS urges people and cinema owners to refrain from watching and screening Padmaavat, describing the film as an attempt to hurt public sentiments and disturb social harmony.
11:23am: A mini truck was torched near Hero Honda chowk in Gurgaon on Wednesday night. According to the police, some unidentified men on bikes pelted stones on vehicles and set the mini truck on fire.
11:20am: Bollywood celebrities like Farhan Akhtar, Sudhir Mishra and Vishal Dadlani strongly criticise the attack by Shri Rajput Karni Sena activists on a school bus carrying children and staff in Gurgaon, terming it an act of “terrorism”.
11:15am: Delhi High Court refuses to entertain Chittorgarh-based group Jauhar Smriti Sansthan’s plea seeking quashing of the certification granted to Padmaavat. High Court asks petitioner to approach the Supreme Court.
11:12am: “We are confident that in Jaipur, especially in Diggi palace, everything is calm. We hope to receive Prasoon Joshi (CBFC chief) on the day of his session. He was, anyway, not supposed to come today,” says Sanjoy Roy, Jaipur Literature Festival organiser.
11:10am:The SC agrees to hear on Monday two separate petitions seeking contempt action against four state governments and the Shree Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena for violating its order allowing the all-India release of the movie.
11:06am: Congress supporter Tehseen Poonawalla moves Supreme Court seeking contempt action against four states (Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh) for failing to contain the mob protesting against Padmaavat. A lawyer files separate plea seeking similar contempt action against Karni Sena and its office-bearers for violating apex court orders.
10:55am: The Delhi Police say forces have been deployed at theatres and multiplexes screening the movie, and they were on high alert as anti-Padmaavat violence was reported from adjoining Gurgaon. “The city malls have been asked to tighten its inner security as some malls having multiplexes like Select City walk in Saket,” says special commissioner of police Dependra Pathak.
10:50am: Rajput groups hold a demonstration in front of a multiplex in Gwalior on Thursday morning even though none of the multiplexes in Madhya Pradesh are screening the film.
10:40am: “It opens old wounds, and that is why such films should not be made. What is the historical value of it? Zero. They say it has nothing to do with history, then why are you making it? Also, why is Rahul Gandhi not taking a stand on it?” BJP leader Subramanian Swamy tells ANI.
10:30am: “The students and teachers are safe. Staff members handled the situation, and the teachers did not let students panic. We are grateful to our staff who were able to tackle the situation so beautifully as they are trained for this,” says Neeta Bali, principal of GD Goenka school in Gurgaon, tells ANI.
10.10am: Congress leader Digvijaya Singh says films which hurt sentiments of any religion or caste should not be made.
10:05am: Vijender, conductor of the Gurgaon school bus that was vandalised by the protestors, tells ANI: “They were pelting stones on cars and clashing with police, we tried to navigate safely but got caught in the violence. Fortunately, we were able to ensure safety of children which was our priority.”
9:57am: In Rajkot, some communities have formed Padmaavat Sangharsh Samiti, which has given a bandh call for the day. Lawyers across the state have extended support to this samiti and will refrain from work today.
9:55am: Multiplexes in Gujarat have announced that Padmaavat will not be screened, while Ahmedabad has come under security cover. State police, along with teams of rapid action force, are deployed to avoid untoward incident.
9:15am: “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,” Gujarat Multiplex Owners Association president Manubhai Patel says.
9:12am: Over 20,000 policemen as well as paramilitary personnel have been deployed across Gujarat. Sixteen companies of paramilitary forces, such as BSF and Rapid Action Force (RAF), have been provided by the Centre.
9:10am: Ravinder Kumar, PRO of Gurgaon police, says anyone who indulges in vandalism would be put behind bars and no one will be spared for breaking law and order. “The situation is under control and adequate police have been deployed at sensitive places across the city.”
9:00am: The Gurgaon police has almost fortified the city with huge deployment at sensitive places like theatres, malls and bus stands in the city.
8:40am: “It’s peaceful. The current show is housefull. Police officials are present while our own security is also in place. All is good as of now,” says Kishore Ganatra, E-Square cinema hall owner.
8:02am: Several schools in the National Capital Region said they will remain shut on Thursday while many schools in Gurgaon have decided to remain closed till January 29. The schools that remained open witness thin attendance as parents decide to play it safe. Many accompany children to schools, fearing for their safety.
8:00am: Udaipur ADM SC Sharma issues order stating that students in both government and private schools should not perform on the ‘ghoomar’ song during Republic Day celebrations.
7:52am: “The movie will make 1 billion rupees (15.7 million) over the long weekend from Thursday to Sunday despite the protests,” trade analyst Akshaye Rathi tells AFP.
7:50am: Many distributors are refusing to exhibit the film today due to the threats of violence but industry watchers still expect it to be a hit at the box office.
7:40am: Members of Rajput Karni Sena have threatened to attack cinemas, including with swords, while hundreds of women have said they are ready to perform a mass self-immolation if screenings go ahead.
*The protests are being spearheaded by Rajput groups and their allies unhappy with the depiction of legendary queen Padmini in the movie.
*Trouble first hit the movie in January last year when Rajput Karni Sena members attacked the film’s director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and vandalised the set during filming in Rajasthan.
*Several states, including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab, tried to ban the film but India’s Supreme Court has ruled that this would violate creative freedoms.
*Padmaavat was initially named Padmaavati and was due to hit screens on December 1 but filmmakers changed the name and pushed back the release date. Earlier this month the censor board cleared it with five changes.
(With agency inputs)