The supreme Court had declared its verdict on the Bollywood film Padmaavat. But what of the state government? Will they relent?
The Supreme Court’s stay on the notifications passed by some States prohibiting the exhibition of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Padmaavat on Thursday was cause for tension in Rajasthan, with the Rajput groups threatening they would not allow its screening. The State government also indicated that it may appeal against the apex court’s ruling.
Though Rajasthan was the first State to announce a ban on the release of the film, the State government formally issued an order on Wednesday prohibiting its exhibition on the ground of law and order situation and “in public interest”.
However, Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said the State government would abide by the SC’s interim order.
The Gujarat and Haryana governments said they would study the order before deciding the next move.
“We will have to see the judgement first, study it before making a new move on the subject,” Minister of State for Home Pradipsinh Jadeja said in a statement issued by the state information department.
People’s sentiments ignored
Much of the protest against the film was centered in Rajasthan, as the legendary 13th-14th century Queen Padmavati, who is the central character in the movie, belonged to Chittorgarh. After the apex court’s ruling, the police in the State was put on alert and Director-General of Police O.P. Galhotra took feedback from officials.
Rajput Karni Sena founder Lokendra Singh Kalvi said he would request all social organisations across the country to not allow the release of Padmaavat. “The public should impose a curfew on cinema halls,” he said, adding that the apex court should have passed the order after hearing the experts to whom the Central Board of Film Certification had shown the movie.
Karni Sena‘s national president Sukhdev Singh Gogamedi said the Supreme Court had not kept people’s sentiments in mind while passing the order. The Rajput community would seek the intervention of President Ram Nath Kovind in the matter, he said.
Manjushri Shaktawat, president of Jauhar Kshatrani Manch, a Rajput women’s group, said a rally would be taken out on January 21 against the proposed release of the controversial film. Some Rajput groups had on Wednesday blocked the highway connecting Chittorgarh with Udaipur, Kota and Bhilwara as a mark of protest.
There were reports of protesters vandalising a cinema hall in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur a few hours after the Supreme Court pronounced its order, while members of the Rajput community in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur threatened to burn down cinema halls which screen Padmaavat.
The Karni Sena in Gujarat vowed to continue its protest against the film’s release.
Karni Sena activists came streets blocking highways in several places. Over a dozen activists blocked Rajkot Ahmedabad national highway by burning tyres on the road. “We will not allow release of movie in Gujarat,” said Kirpalsinh Chavda, Rajput Karni Sena Secretary.
Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij on Thursday said state government would study the judgement and if there’s any possibility of an appeal then it would be considered by the government. “Supreme Court has given its decision without hearing our view. We will abide by the decision but we shall also study the judgement and if there is any possibility of an appeal we will consider it,” he said.
Mr. Vij added that “the decision of the apex court is supreme but until and unless we go through the entire judgement we cannot comment on it.”
The Haryana government had on January 16 decided to ban Padmaavat in the State.