Shri Rajput Karni Sena (SRKS), which is spearheading protests against director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati, claims to have 7.64 lakh registered members across Rajasthan and identifies “opposing distortion of history” as one of its 11 aims as an outfit committed to the welfare of Rajputs. Formed in 2006, the outfit is named after Karni Mata, a goddess revered across Rajasthan, with her seat being the famous “rat” temple in Deshnoke near Bikaner. In 2008, the SRKS was in the middle of a similar controversy when it protested against Ashutosh Gowariker’s film ‘Jodhaa Akbar’ over “inaccurate portrayal of history”. While there are other Rajput organisations such as Shri Rajput Sabha, founded in 1939, which work for Rajputs, SRKS members identify themselves as the foot-soldiers of the community. Interestingly, all its members are below the age of 40. The members who cross the age of 40 are made members of SRKS’s advisory committee.
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The organisation’s founder patron is Lokendra Singh Kalvi, the son of late Kalyan Singh Kalvi, who was a minister in former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar’s Cabinet. At the time of its formation, SRKS decided 11 aims for itself. These included opposing any political or social malice against Rajputs, opposing distortion of history, promoting Rajput unity and social harmony with 36 communities, and supporting any Rajput affiliated with any political party. It further vowed to motivate Rajput women towards education and self-reliance, to motivate the community for social work, and make Rajputs heard on on the issue of reservation.
The outfit is mainly active in Jaipur and surrounding districts, along with certain other areas like Pali and Chittorgarh and Kota. It, however, has a district team in all 33 districts of the state. Apart from a president, it has four vice-presidents, four general secretaries and four joint secretaries. It is the same organisational set-up that is followed for all its district units. Over the years, SRKS’s splinter groups have formed their own Rajput youth wings. The main SRKS faction is led by Mahipal Singh, who organised Friday’s protest against Bhansali’s movie at Jaigarh Fort. Mahipal claims there is only one case against him and that involved the attack on Zee News journalists allegedly by SRKS activists over the network airing television serial Jodha Akbar.
2008: SRKS protested against Jodhaa Akbar over “inaccurate portrayal of history”. The film was not released in the state.
2008: As Kshatriyas, called a Jaipur Bandh in 2008 to protest Brahmins being lathicharged.
2012: Called bandh against the arrest of BJP MLA Rajendra Rathore, now Panchayati Raj Minister, by CBI in a fake encounter case.
2013: Threatened to disrupt Congress’s Chintan Shivir and confront Sonia Gandhi over issue of reservation.
2014: Disrupted filmmaker Ekta Kapoor’s session at the Jaipur Literature Fest over her TV serial Jodha Akbar.
2014: Allegedly attacked journalists at Jaipur office of Zee News, to register their protest for airing the serial.