Following the remarks on “intolerance” made by Shah Rukh Khan, various right wing organisations, including VHP and Bajrang Dal, are protesting in Rajasthan over the past few days ahead of the Friday release of his movie ‘Dilwale’, and have been threatening to stop the screenings in local cinema halls.
On Thursday, two youths, allegedly from Bajrang Dal, climbed a tower in Bhilwara while protesting against the movie. Earlier on Wednesday, VHP and Bajrang Dal members submitted a memorandum to the local administration in Chittorgarh against the screening of the movie, due for release on Friday. Bajrang Dal’s Bhilwara district president Ganesh Gurjar, who was among those who submitted the memorandum, said they would “protest in a democratic manner against the screening on Friday in Chittorgarh and other parts of the state.”
On November 2, Khan had said at a press conference in Mumbai that “religious intolerance and not being secular is the worst kind of crime that you can do as a patriot.” However, he reportedly went back on his comments during ABP News’ show a couple of days ago and apologised for his comments.
“I do not think there is intolerance… the question that was asked, for which people pounced on me, was ‘what would you say to the future generation?’ because I now fall under the seniority zone.I never meant that it is happening now. I don’t think. I will be very clear.. everything is very nice in our country. God bless India, long live us, long live us Indians,” the actor said, adding his stand had nothing to do with the release of his film. Calling himself a patriot and a nationalist, he said he was sorry if anyone misunderstood him.
In Bhilwara, two youths affiliated to Bajrang Dal climbed a tower on Thursday morning while allegedly protesting against the movie. “They climbed the tower at around 11 am and were chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans. They had a saffron flag in hand which they tied on the tower,” said Subhash Nagar inspector Nemi Chand Chaudhary. In a short grainy video being shared on WhatsApp, the youths can be heard chanting “Na mullon ka na qazi ka,” as their supporters by the tower complete the slogan: “Ye desh hai Shivaji ka” (This country is not of mullahs, but of Shivaji). “Taking the cover of construction which was underway nearby, the two managed to escape,” Chaudhary said, adding that “they came down after persuasion by fellow Bajrang Dal members.”
“The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal, and several other organisations and people have expressed anger against the comments made by Shah Rukh. And reports of protests are coming in from all over the country,” said Suresh Goyal, Chittor prant prabhari of VHP. “We have two kinds of protests — one directed by the central leadership, and another decided by the local units themselves. The protests underway are of the latter category,” he said.
On Wednesday, VHP and Bajrang Dal also protested outside the Chittorgarh collector’s office and submitted a memorandum. “Several Hindu organisations said in a memorandum that they have an objection if Dilwale is screened in Chittorgarh. As we have only one cinema hall here, we discussed this with the hall owner and he told us that he is screening Bajirao Mastani only. So we are not expecting any law and order problem,” Chittorgarh’s acting district collector Suresh Chandra said.