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Padmavati row: Karni Sena calls for Bharat Bandh on December 1

Dubbing Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone’s statement regarding the movie ‘Padmavati’ provocative, the Shri Rajput Karni Sena on Wednesday called for a ‘Bharat Bandh’ (shutdown) on December 1 if Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movie was released on that date.

“We will hold rallies across the country, including Gurugram, Patna, Lucknow and Bhopal before the release date,” Lokendra Singh Kalvi, founder-patron of the Shri Rajput Karni Sena, an organisation of the Rajput community, told the media here.

He said that all communities, including Muslims, supported the Sena on the issue.

“We demand a complete ban on the film. Now, we don’t want any pre-screening of the movie. All we want is a ban,” he said.

He claimed that as per the Cinematography Act, the government can withhold the release of a movie for three months even after a go-ahead by the Central Board of Film Certification and it can be extended further.

“We request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene in the matter,” Kalvi said.

He flayed Deepika Padukone’s statement that “nothing can stop the movie’s release”, dubbing it “provoking”.

Activists of the Karni Sena had on Tuesday vandalised a theatre in Kota in Rajasthan after reports that it was showing a trailer of ‘Padmavati’.

The protestors pelted stones and broke windowpanes, gates and the ticket counter and also damaged some office furniture between 3.30 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the theatre in Akash Mall, Anand Yadav, Circle Incharge of Gumanpura police station, told IANS on phone.

Kalvi said that Bhansali’s team had assured them in writing a few months ago that they will pre-screen the movie and take Rajput organisations into confidence before the movie’s release.

“But they did not do so,” Kalvi said.

In January, activists of the Shri Rajput Karni Sena had protested, manhandled and misbehaved with the crew of ‘Padmavati’ in Jaipur, claiming that Bhansali was “distorting” historical facts in the movie.

They had also damaged some cameras and other equipment. Bhansali had to stop shooting.

“We will not allow distorted facts to be shown in the film at any cost and will see to it that the film is not released,” Kalvi said.

“They are trying to defame queen Padmavati by distorting historical facts. It is not acceptable,” an activist of the Karni Sena said.

In March, some miscreants broke the mirrors at the Padmini Mahal in Chittorgarh Fort where Alauddin Khilji is alleged to have seen Rani Padmavati or Padmini. The Karni Sena claims the mirror story was invented years later.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Rajasthan unit chief Ashok Parnami told the media that the Vasundhara Raje government will not tolerate any distortion of historical facts.

“Our history is glorious. We will not tolerate any distortion in historical facts,” he said.

Rajasthan State Commission for Women chief Suman Sharma, in a letter urged CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi to watch the movie and ensure there was no assault on the dignity of women through the film.

Sharma told reporters that she appealed to the board that women from the Rajput community too should be included in the pre-screening of the movie.