Soon after the Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan governments’ plea to modify the court’s earlier order, which had paved the way for nationwide release of the film Padmaavat, Rajput outfits asked the Centre to bring an ordinance and put the film on hold.
The Rajput outfits claimed that the issue is no longer restricted to their community but ostensibly involves all Hindus.
The groups, which met under the banner of Sarva Samaj Sangharsh Samiti, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to bring an ordinance prohibiting Padmaavat’s screening across the nation. The letter maintained that the ordinance is required to “protect the honour of Rani Padmini, the icon of women’s honour and tradition in Hinduism, as well as high ideals, and of the proud Rajput history”.
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Giriraj Singh Lotwara, chief of Shri Rajput Sabha and the Samiti’s convenor, said, “I request the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister to bring an ordinance to stop the movie. This is not only about Rajputs but about Hindutva. An undeclared emergency-like situation has emerged where our sentiments have been set aside.”
Padmaavat is scheduled for release on January 25.
While Rajput leaders said that the situation will “worsen” if the ordinance is not brought in within 24 hours, Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said, “Our review petition has been turned down. I and my team will now try to ensure that law and order is maintained in Rajasthan…. There is no alternative before us now besides maintaining law and order.”
Lotwara, however, said, “There was no need for the government to go for an appeal (in Supreme Court). It could have, and still can, stop the movie anytime.”
Referring to a letter from Bhansali Productions on January 20, and his reply to it, Lotwara said, “When they created a committee of nine people and invited three of them to watch the film, all three said that the movie should not be screened. So why is the government insisting on its release? I also got a letter inviting us to watch the movie — I said we are ready, but I asked whether they are ready to make changes that we will suggest.”
“I haven’t got a reply since,” he claimed.
Karni Sena chief patron Lokendra Singh Kalvi said that six others who were named to watch the pre-screening, as sought by Bhansali Productions in its letter, are historians R S Khangarot, B L Gupta, Kapil Kumar, Roshan Sharma; erstwhile Mewar royal family member Vishwaraj Singh and erstwhile Banswara royal family member Jagmal Singh, PTI reported.
Khangarot is principal of Agrawal College in Jaipur, Gupta is a retired professor of History in University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, and Sharma a Jaipur-based historian. Kapil Kumar is a Delhi-based historian.
Opposing the film, RSS’s Rajasthan chief Bhagwati Prakash said that it is “wrong to distort history in the name of freedom of expression”.