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Padmaavat row: 15 arrested in Pune for violence

Pune, too, witnessed violence in a few areas wherein a group of people holding saffron flags damaged 10 vehicles near Vadgaon bridge on Tuesday midnight to protest against the release of the film.

pune Updated: Jan 24, 2018 23:31 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Padmaavat,violence,Pune
A truck was vandalism on Vadgaon bridge on the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway on Tuesday night. The protest was against the release of Padmaavat in Pune.(HT PHOTO)

Sporadic incidents of violence including burning of vehicles, blockade of traffic and stopping of trains was reported from different parts of the country on Wednesday, a day before the release of Sanjay Leela Bansali’s Padmaavat, a period film being opposed by Rajput groups claiming it undermines Rajasthan’s Queen Padmini.

Pune, too, witnessed violence in a few areas wherein a group of people holding saffron flags damaged 10 vehicles near Vadgaon bridge on Tuesday midnight to protest against the release of the film. The Sinhagad road police station officials arrested 15 people, who belong to Rajasthan but are currently residing in different parts of the city. The police arrested them for rioting and looting.

As many as 26 theatres in Pune have scheduled the release of Padmaavat and majority of them have openly stated that they won’t retreat from their decision to screen the movie amidst threats from Karni Sena and allied organisations. They have stated that it is the responsibility of the Maharashtra government to provide adequate security to theatres and multiplexes which plan to screen the film on January 25 as scheduled.

Based on a complaint lodged by truck driver Mahesh Laxman Bhapkar of Phaltan in Satara, an FIR was registered against 20-25 people for unlawful assembly and rioting with the Sinhagad road police station.

The incident took place at around 11.45 pm on Tuesday. Bhapkar was on the way to Mumbai to deliver goods, when suddenly the group of men stopped the vehicle on the Pune-Bengaluru highway. They broke the windscreen of the truck with sticks and said that they will not allow the release of the film Padmaavat.

Two others identified as Avinash Edge of Jat in Sangli district and Vasant Sarje of Karad tahsil in Satara district – have lodged complaints that the rioters snatched away ₹2,700 and ₹1,200 respectively from them. After their complaint, the police added charges of dacoity against the accused persons.

DCP (Zone 2) Praveen Mundhe said, “Till now 15 people have been arrested and we have also seized two bikes. Search is on for the remaining 10-15 persons. We have intensified patrolling in the area and launched a combing operation to nab the suspects,” he said.

On Saturday, the Pune unit of Karni Sena, Akhil Bhartiya Rajasthani Samaj (Pune) and a number of Hindutva organisations such as Bajrang Dal and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) had issued a warning to multiplex and theatre owners against screening the film.

Meanwhile, the Pune Police claim that they have made elaborated preparations to tackle any eventuality on Thursday. A large number of policemen will be stationed at theatres to prevent any violence, officials said.

First Published: Jan 24, 2018 23:31 IST