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Padmaavat protests in Gujarat turn violent, police fire warning shots

Padmaavat protests: Violence also broke out in parts of Surat. Protesters burnt tyres to block traffic on the highway to Kheralu area of north Gujarat.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Updated: January 24, 2018 9:56 am
padmaavat, sanjay leela bhansali, padmaavat protests, Gujarat padmaavat protets, gujarat protests, gujarat violent protests, cbfc, supreme court, deepika padukone, karni sena, india news, indian express Protests in Ahmedabad Tuesday. (Photo: Javed Raja)

On the day the Supreme Court refused to modify its order staying Gujarat and Rajasthan’s notifications prohibiting the screening of Padmaavat, protests against the film — it is due for release Thursday — turned violent with mobs in Ahmedabad targeting multiplexes and malls, blocking roads and torching parked vehicles. Police fired in the air to scatter the mobs.

Violence also broke out in parts of Surat. Protesters burnt tyres to block traffic on the highway to Kheralu area of north Gujarat.

Ahmedabad Police Commissioner A K Singh told The Indian Express that two rounds were fired in the air outside Himalaya Mall to disperse the mobs.

Gujarat’s Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja said: “We are probing who is responsible for the incident. Police have detained 30 people so far. I am in touch with Karni Sena leaders and they have said that they do not approve of violent protests. I am saying this again that the state government will follow the Supreme Court order which has allowed release of the film.”

Also Read | Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor join chorus against Padmaavat

At least three Ahmedabad malls — Acropolis which has the PVR multiplex, Himalaya which has Carnival Cinema and Ahmedabad One which has Cinepolis — were targeted by mobs which set ablaze at least 25-30 vehicles, mostly two-wheelers outside Himalaya Mall, and 10-12 vehicles outside Acropolis, Additional Chief Fire Officer Rajesh Bhatt said.

These were attacked even though cinema hall owners had said they would not be screening Padmaavat because of security concerns. Manu Patel, president of Ahmedabad multiplex association, said: “Our decision stays. Multiplexes in Ahmedabad will not be screening Padmaavat.”

Also Read | Padmaavat protest: UP Kshatriya outfit leader threatens to raze Parliament, SC, booked for sedition

Raj Shekhawat, Gujarat chief of the Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena, said: “I have appealed for peace but emotions are running high… I am still appealing for peaceful protest.”

Surat police commissioner Satish Sharma said: “Until Monday, we had arrested 23 people and today we have arrested 20 more. We have lodged a complaint against leaders of different organisations. We have identified such leaders and will arrest them soon.”

In the Supreme Court, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra refused to modify its earlier order staying the notifications issued by Gujarat and Rajasthan that prohibited screening of the film.

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“Your whole submission proceeds on the argument that it distorts history. But when the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), while clearing the film, asked them to put a disclaimer, and the film claims not to portray history, the basis of your argument goes,” Justice D Y Chandrachud told a counsel appearing for the Shri Rajput Karni Sena.

Also Read | Call out to PM Modi: Bring ordinance, stop Padmaavat

“We are not inclined to entertain the applications for modification. We find no merit,” the bench said. “Let us not come to a stage where exhibition of a movie of this nature after issuance of certificate is crippled… People must understand that it (CBFC) is a statutory body. Supreme Court has passed an order. People have to abide by it. If they don’t like it, don’t watch,” CJI Misra said.

Appearing for the states, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said he was not seeking a ban, but only the liberty to take action if the circumstances so warranted. “Suppose in a given area, it becomes necessary to stop screening for a few days,” he told the bench.

“State should first implement our order. Then if the occasion arises, we will examine it,” Justice A M Khanwilkar said. “Otherwise, you will create a virtue out of it and then demand a ban,” Justice Chandrachud said.

Also Read | Padmaavat releases on Jan 25: Police step up vigil across Maharashtra, identify sensitive pockets

Citing freedom of expression and recalling instances of courts refusing to ban works of literature and art, the Supreme Court had, on January 18, stayed the notifications issued by the two state governments, and also restrained other states from issuing similar notifications. It had underlined that “valued constitutional rights” were at stake, and added that it is the “duty and obligation of states to maintain law and order”.

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  1. Employ Ment
    Jan 24, 2018 at 5:48 pm
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    1. B
      b n sinha
      Jan 24, 2018 at 2:05 pm
      After vandalising public and private properties and torching vehicles, for the pride of a fictional female character, the goons while returning home, gang rapes few minor girls. And after completion of all they shout Jai Sri Ram, or Bharat Mata Ki Jai. This is India on the platter under BJP Govt. Kudos to Modi and Gang to destroy such a beautiful pluralistic country wherein people of multiple faiths and race lived happily under one cons ution. Our freedom fighters must be turning in graves with utter shame and repentance. No Karni sena for 10 rapes in 10 days in Haryana. Had these groups were Dalits or Muslims , Army would have been seen in streets. But these hooligans are their vote banks. As a normal peace loving citizen we simply take a minute out of our daily struggle to cry a bit seeing the fall of the Great Nation called India.
      1. M
        Jan 24, 2018 at 1:00 pm
        When a BJP-RSS worker is killed in Karnataka or Kerala the Nationalist Patriotic Bhakts and their leaders led by Feku preach and shout slogans, but when Hindutva groups and Savarna outfits burn hundreds of vehicles, attack theatres, lynch citizens and threaten innocents the same rats bow done in surrender. If a Dalit group or Muslim outfit had done this on the streets the Army would have been called in to deal with them no less. But BJP is a slave of Savarna Hindu groups and will continue handling them with kid gloves
        1. Redi ever
          Jan 24, 2018 at 12:48 pm
          Put this down to Feku Modi's degenerate education policy in Gujarat. Where people cant make out the difference between fiction and fact. Padmavati is a fictional character. Not a real person. Allahuddin Khilji stopped the Mughal Hordes from ravaging India. Bhansali is a commercial film maker. But in Feku Modi India and Vomit shah's Gujarat fiction and fact are the same. Gujarat will burn and so will many other places in India, minorities will be killed and the conomy will be ruined. Meanwhile Feku will keep spinning yarns and stories so that he can hug the odd world leader and Nawaz Sharif's niece.
          1. ajith Mallu
            Jan 24, 2018 at 12:22 pm
            PM is spending millions to dine out with business community in Davos to Invest in chaotic India. The fact is that no one trusts him outside India and most of the foreign media is severely critical of his politics.As long his own party in collusion with illegal en ies like Karni sena promote violence, no one will invest his hard earned capital in India dia already lost 4 percent GDP in last two years which is roughly 100 billion dollars. Most of the jokers in his cabinet have no clue how to run a country. The PM with no educational qualification go and give written script will not work out this time domestically and internationally
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