Fringe groups on the rampage ahead of ‘Padmaavat’ release, School Bus attacked in Gurgaon

A school bus was attacked in Gurgaon, a fringe outfit in UP declared a bounty on Deepika Padukone’s nose while roads were blocked at many places as violence spread to several states on Wednesday, a day ahead of the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Padmaavat’.

Karni Sena members protesting the movie allegedly damaged two state roadways buses in Jaipur and blocked a road in the city’s Kalwar area scores of activists were held in Mumbai and Nashik.

Gurgaon, meanwhile, witnessed one of the most shocking incidents, when a mob in its frenzy attacked a school bus.

Around 20-25 G D Goenka World School students were on way home when a group of around 60 activists, believed to be members of a fringe group, attacked the bus with bamboo sticks asking the driver to stop the vehicle.

When he did not comply, they pelted the vehicle with stones. The school bus staffer asked the kids to crawl under seats for safety and directed the driver to not stop it, Ravinder Kumar, PRO, Gurgaon Police said.

“The terrified kids cried for help. Fortunately none of them was hurt in the attack,” Kumar said.

In Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur, a fringe outfit, the Kanpur Kshatriya Mahasabha, announced a cash reward to anyone who chops off actor Padukone’s nose. Padukone plays legendary queen Padmavati in the film.

“We have collected crores of rupees from Kanpurites to be given as reward to anyone who will bring the chopped nose of Deepika Padukone,” its president Gajendra Singh Rajawat said in Kanpur.

In Madhya Pradesh’s Ratlam, 27 women members of Rajput Karni Sena submitted letters to the district administration urging President Ram Nath Kovind to stop the film or permit them to end their lives.

“We demanded that the president should either grant permission to us to embrace death, as we are not able to protect the honour of Rani Padmavati, or else stop the movie from release,” Rajput Karni Sena’s Ratlam district women’s wing vice president Mangla Deora said.

Nearly 200 protesters blocked National Highway-3, which links Agra with Mumbai, near Pigdambar crossing in Kishanganj area in Indore district and broke glass bottles on the road, police said.

A theatre was vandalised in Jammu while there were protests in Gorakhpur as well.

As protests raged, a defiant Shree Rajput Karni Sena, which has been spearheading the opposition to the flick, sought to pin the blame on director Bhansali.

The fringe outfit’s chief patron Lokendra Singh Kalvi insisted that a ‘Janta curfew’ will be imposed on theatres that screen the movie.

He also claimed that Shiv Sena leaders had assured the Karni Sena of support on the issue in Maharashtra.

A Janta curfew will be imposed at any cost in film halls to stop the film’s screening, Kalvi said.

He alleged that a dream sequence between the characters of Alauddin Khilji and Rani Padmavati existed in the controversial film, which, he said, was “intolerable”.

“Those who watched the film on the invitation by the censor board few days back have said that there is a dream sequence between Alauddin Khilji and Rani Padmavati in the film. We have been demanding that there should be no dream sequence and no romantic scene between the two,” he told a press conference in Jaipur.

The filmmakers have assured in the past that no dream sequence exists in the movie. There is no such sequence in the movie, according to a journalist who has seen the film.

Kalvi also claimed that a section of media had wrongly reported that members of the Karni Sena had seen the film on Tuesday.

“This is not true and we are firm on our stand against the film,” he said.

Striking a defiant pose, the Karni Sena leader said that he and other outfit leaders may be arrested and bullets fired but the protest would continue in states like Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

The film, starring Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh, is based on the saga of the 13th Century battle between Maharaja Ratan Singh of Mewar and Sultan Alauddin Khilji.

The Supreme Court had paved the way for its nationwide release after some states issued notifications banning the film. The movie, earlier named ‘Padmavati’ and slated for a December 1 release, will now hit theatres worldwide Today. PTI