Amid growing violent protests by members of the Rajput community against Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmaavat, scheduled to be released on Thursday, political leaders cutting across party lines supported the demand to ban the film.
The latest to join the chorus demanding a ban are Patidar quota leader Hardik Patel and newly elected Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor.
In an open letter to Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Hardik held the BJP government “responsible” for the “consequences” of the release.
Citing the “honour of Rajput community”, which he said has “sacrificed” much for India’s unity, Hardik wrote: “We respect the Supreme Court of India but the Kshatriya community (Rajputs) offered their royal states at the feet of Ma Bharati (Mother India) with closed eyes in order to ensure the unity and strength of this country. Therefore, it is the duty of one and all to ensure that the honour of this Rajput community is not lowered (due to a film). If Padmaavat is released in Gujarat, the responsibility of the consequences and law and order will rest upon the government.”
The film should not be released in Gujarat under any circumstances, he added.
Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor also said that “an attempt is being made to tarnish the glorious history of the Kshatriya samaj through the film”. “We are completely against it. The Chief Minister had banned the release of Padmaavat, then why is the state police offering protection to theatres wanting to showcase it. The coordination between the state government and the police administration raises a big question,” the Congress MLA said.
BJP state president Jitu Vaghani also voiced his opinion in favour of cinema owners deciding to not screening Padmaavat. “The cinema owners are supporting the government and are aligning with the feelings of the people,” Vaghani said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said that most theatre owners in Gujarat have voluntarily decided to not screen the film. “They have taken the decision voluntarily. The government is trying its best to maintain law and order,” he said.