Four days ahead of the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, protests by the Rajput Karni Sena and other organisations against the screening of the movie hit parts of Noida and Greater Noida, Sunday. While at least 15 bike-borne protesters smashed glass screens at the DND toll plaza, another group gathered at Pari Chowk in Greater Noida and blocked roads, throwing traffic out of gear.
By Sunday evening, FIRs at four police stations in Noida and Greater Noida had been registered under IPC sections related to rioting. Police said 14 protesters were arrested following the violence. According to police, around 2 pm on Sunday, a group of protesters gathered at Venice Mall in Greater Noida and tried to meet the management to voice their concerns over the movie.
“This was in the afternoon and there was no violence there. While some left the area, a section assembled near Pari
Chowk before moving to other parts of the district,” said Suniti, Superintendent of Police (RA), Gautam Buddh Nagar. However, the demonstration took a violent turn when they reached the DND toll plaza. “They were on motorcycles… they smashed the windows of the toll plaza. At least 100 men were there. They also roughed up a toll booth operator and damaged the road divider. By the time police arrived, some fled. Around 20-30 were rounded up,” said a toll booth operator.
“Several groups, such as Karni Sena, Rajput Utthan Samiti and others, took part in the protest. It started in parts of Greater Noida before reaching Noida. They almost blocked the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway and burnt tyres near Hajipur underpass. Their plan was to go to malls like Great India Place in Noida but they were stopped near Dalit Prerna Sthal. So, they went to DND instead and resorted to violence,” said Abhinandan, DSP (City 1), Gautam Buddh Nagar.
At Sector 20 police station, an FIR was registered against 200 unnamed and 21 named persons under IPC sections relating to rioting (147, 148, 149), 307 (attempt to murder), 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others), 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage), 427, 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 506 (criminal intimidation), Section 7 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act and sections relating to destruction to public property.
“Seven more people have been identified. Efforts are on to arrest them and identify the others,” Abhinandan said.