Padmaavat releases today; protests continue, Lucknow man tries to immolate himself

Gurgaon and Noida have imposed Section 144 which prohibits the assembly of more than four people. Photograph:( Others )

WION Web Team Delhi, India Jan 25, 2018, 01.15 AM (IST)

As Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat finally gets a release, chaos hammers the country.

Protestors took to the streets and caused a ruckus in various parts of the country.

Media reports of a law student in Lucknow who tried immolating himself in a protest against the film's release. He is currently out of danger. 

Ahead, a roundup of the ongoing protests from all across the country, information about Padmaavat's screening blackout in four states, and the Karni Sena's stand on the release. 

Protests across the country

While Ahmedabad was met with incidents of vandalism, attacks on multiplexes and torching of vehicles on Tuesday, similar protests were carried out in parts of Chattisgarh, Rajasthan, Noida, Gurugram, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir among others.

UNESCO heritage site, the Chittor Fort, in Rajasthan was shut as members of the Karni Sena group tried entering it late Tuesday evening. 

Gurugram saw fringe groups attacking a school bus full of children on Wednesday. Protesters also burnt a bus and caused roadblocks in parts of Haryana and Rajasthan. 

School authorities in Gurugram, after the attack on a school bus on Wednesday, have decided to keep schools shuts to ensure the safety of children and their staff.

Right-wing groups intensified protests against the release of a controversial Bollywood film "Padmaavat" amid heightened police presence in various states on Wednesday. (ANI)

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The schools which have decided to shut down till Sunday include Pathways school, GD Goenka school, Shiv Nadar school and Delhi Public School.

"We do not want to take any risk with the life of students. Protection of students outside and inside is our prime concern," a teacher told PTI.

"If the violators can attack school buses and Haryana roadways buses openly despite prohibitory orders and tight security arrangements of the Gurgaon Police," the teacher said, adding, "We cannot take a chance and have decided to close down."

The teacher said that a total of six schools have taken the decision to remain shut.

Gurugram has already imposed section 144 which aims to check the assembly of groups of more than four people.

Meanwhile, Gurugram's Deputy Commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh argues that the situation in the city remains peaceful.

"Everyone has the right to protest but in a peaceful way. Violation of law and order is not allowed. The situation is peaceful in Gurgaon and all colleges, schools, offices will remain open on Thursday," Singh noted.

Gurgaon police along with 550 additional forces have been deployed in the city's major areas including multiplexes, Commissioner of Police Sandeep Khairwar said.

"All Gurgaon malls have been directed to tighten their internal security. I along with other senior officers are monitoring the security arrangements in their respective zones," he said.

"The Gurgaon Police is on a high alert and various teams are ready to respond quickly in case of any untoward incident," Khairawar said.

"In Noida, near the capital New Delhi, activists burned toll booths on a highway after a rally while in Rajasthan state women carrying swords marched against the movie," notes an AFP report.

Over dozens of protestors were detained in 'maximum city', Mumbai. 

"We are providing security arrangements to all multiplexes and single screen theatres showing the movie," Mumbai police spokesman Deepak Deoraj told AFP.

"We will be patrolling the entire city and will have reserve forces deployed to prevent any flare-ups until the issue is resolved," he added.

Blackout in 4 states

The Multiplex Association of India, which represents about 75 per cent of multiplex owners, said its members would not screen the movie in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Goa. "The local management has told us that the law and order situation is not conducive," its president Deepak Asher was quoted by Press Trust of India.

“For us the safety of patrons is important. Depending on the scenario, we will see if the atmosphere is safe, then we will play it (in these four states). Things could change (but) at the moment we are looking at the safety of people,” Deepak Asher, president of the association said.

Theatre owners in Gujarat have noted that the film would be screened only when the row gets resolved.

Karni Sena's stand

The Karni Sena has asked members to carry out protests wherever possible and to ensure that the movie halls are not able to screen the film. 

Karni Sena chief Lokendra Singh Kalvi directed a “self-imposed curfew by people” to oppose Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movie.

He said: “We are adamant on our stand that this film Padmavaat should be banned. January 25 may come and go but we won’t let the film release, come what may."

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Sanjay Leela Bhansali directed Padmaavat stars Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh in lead roles. The film was cleared under the UA certificate by the Censor Board and was slated for a release on January 25. Minor modifications to the content of the film were suggested by the Prasoon Joshi-led Censor Board. 

Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana decided to ban the film -- the move was stayed by the Supreme Court.

Also read: Padmaavat review: Ranveer Singh shines in Bhansali's visually grand historical saga

"The movie will make 1 billion rupees (15.7 million) over the long weekend from Thursday to Sunday despite the protests," trade analyst Akshaye Rathi told AFP, referring to India`s Republic Day holiday Friday.

(With inputs from agencies)