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* Police have doubled down on security around cinemas across India ahead of the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s period drama ‘Padmaavat’, which hits the big screen today.
* Rajput Karni Sena members protesting the release of ‘Padmaavat’ allegedly damaged two state roadways buses in Jaipur and blocked a road in the city’s Kalwar area while scores of activists were held in Mumbai and Nashik.
* In Gujarat, 21 state transport buses were either vandalised or set ablaze. 118 people have been arrested and 300 others have been detained for damaging public property during protests against the film, said in-charge Director General of Police Pramod Kumar.
Over 20,000 policemen as well as paramilitary personnel have been deployed across the state.
* Around 25 students of G D Goenka World School in Gurugram were on their way home when a group of around 60 activists, believed to be members of a fringe group, pelted stones at the bus and tried to set it on fire.
“The terrified kids cried for help. Fortunately none of them was hurt in the attack,” Ravinder Kumar, PRO, Gurugram Police told PTI.
* Gujarat education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama and Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja held a meeting with representatives of various Rajput organisations in Gandhinagar to seek their support in maintaining peace.
* With the fringe outfits opposing the movie remaining defiant, the Multiplex Association of India, which represents about 75 per cent of multiplex owners, said the film would not be screened in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Goa.
“We have decided not to play the film in four states — Rajasthan, Gujarat, MP and Goa — as the local management has told us that the law and order situation is not conducive,” Deepak Asher, president of the association, told PTI.
* The film, however, found support in West Bengal, Maharashtra and the five southern states where cinema and multiplex owners are going ahead with the screening as per schedule.
* In Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur, a fringe outfit, the Kanpur Kshatriya Mahasabha, announced a cash reward for anyone who chops off actor Padukone’s nose. Padukone plays legendary queen Padmavati in the film.
* 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.
* Protesters claim ‘Padmaavat’ falsely depicts a romance between Rajput queen Padmavati and Sultan Alauddin Khilji. Producers deny this and insist they have portrayed her respectfully in the movie. The Supreme Court had paved the way for its nationwide release after some states issued notifications banning the film.
(With inputs from Agencies)