Chittorgarh peaceful amid Padmaavat protests elsewhere
Self-immolation threat was withdrawn.jaipur Updated: Jan 25, 2018 22:31 IST
Amid protests elsewhere by Rajput organisations against ‘Padmaavat’, Chittorgarh -- the epicentre of the controversy surrounding the film -- remained peaceful on Thursday with a heavy police deployment preventing untoward incidents.
Suspecting protests by Rajput organisations, the district administration deployed force in and outside the Chittorgarh fort, the setting of the Padmavati legend. Tourists were allowed to enter the fort after a security check though their number came down from an average of 500 per day to a double-digit figure.
The city saw business as usual though the Karni Sena had threatened that hundreds of women Rajput protesters will commit ‘jauhar’ (self-immolation) at the fort if the film is screened. According to legend, Queen Padmini committed ‘jauhar’ along with several other women at the fort, preferring death to dishonour.
“Situation is peaceful and no untoward incident has been reported from the district. Adequate police have been deployed. We are thankful to people for their cooperation in maintaining law and order,” district collector Inderjeet Singh said.
Ummed Singh, president of Rajput outfit Johar Smriti Sanstha, said, “The agitation will continue till our demand for complete ban on the movie is met, but in a peaceful manner. We do not want to bring loss to the people, but the way movie is made has hurt the community’s sentiments.”
He added, “We do not want to politicise the issue but the film has distorted history. If the movie had been historically accurate, we would have welcomed it.”
On violent protests, Singh said, “Some people are trying to malign the community’s image.” On their objection to the film, he said the name of the queen was Padmini, not Padmavati. “The queen had never danced, as is being depicted; and affair with Allauddin Khilji is false.”
Rajput youth Bhanu Pratap said, “Taking law and order in our hands is wrong and nothing can be achieved by blackmailing the government. But the truth is the community is hurt with the way movie is made.”
Ranjit, a tourist from Mumbai, said, “It is wrong both ways – to offend by distorting history, or protest.” Ayub Khan, an auto driver, said, “The issue has affected tourist flow to the city.”
With efforts by the district administration, the highway block turned out to be symbolic, and the call for ‘jauhar’ was changed to seeking permission to end life from the President if the movie is not banned.
Deputy superintendent of police Ram Niwas said, “Rajput organisations, such as Johar Kshatrani Manch and Johar Smriti Sansthan, had threatened to commit ‘jauhar’ on January 24 if the movie is released. After talks, protesters dropped the plan.”
A senior official said on anonymity, “The stir was a sudden development as the issue was raised by the community for the last one year. In 2017, the mirror placed in the Padmini Mahal was broken by protesters. In the history of the fort, it was closed twice -- in December 2017 and January.”
Niwas said, “Police were deployed at the fort as the film has been released today in some parts of the country. Hopefully, the deployment will be there till tomorrow.”
Some locals said in a lighter vein that because of the controversy and publicity, the tourist flow to the fort may multiply.