AS many as 23 Congress leaders and workers were arrested after they staged an “unathourised” protest at a city hotel where director Madhur Bhandarkar was supposed to address a press conference for promotion of his latest film, ‘Indu Sarkar’, on Saturday afternoon. “We arrested Congress workers as they were holding a dharna without proper police permission. They were released in the evening,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police, Pravin Mundhe.
The Congress said they could not take permission from the police as they had learnt about the press conference at the eleventh hour. Congress spokesperson Ramesh Iyer said they had learnt that Bhandarkar was to hold a press conference at NIBM on Friday. “However, he apparently cancelled it and was supposed to hold it in Suryadatta College on Saturday, which was also cancelled. Then we learnt that the press conference was scheduled at Crowne Plaza hotel on Saturday afternoon,” he said.
Iyer said they were first told that Bhandarkar had checked out of the hotel. “However, we later found out that he was in the hotel. We wanted to meet him, but he refused. When DCP Mundhe arrived at the hotel, we told him that we wanted to meet Bhandarkar. He met Mundhe but he refused to meet us,” said Iyer. Iyer said that party workers have learnt that the movie potrays former prime minister Indira Gandhi in a bad light.
“We wanted to discuss the issue with him…if there is nothing wrong in the movie as he has been claiming in the media, then why did he refuse to meet us,” asked Iyer. Bhandarkar was not available for comment. Several Congress leaders including city unit president Ramesh Bagwe, Ajit Darekar, Avinash Bagwe, Rafique Shaikh, Vikas Landge, Sonali Marne and M V Akolkar were among those arrested and later released on bail. Indu Sarkar apparently revolves around the period of the Emergency from 1975 to 1977. Along with actor Kirti Kulhari, the movie also features actors Neil Nitin Mukesh, Anupam Kher and Supriya Vinod.