Ahead of Padmaavat‘s release, cinema owners of Kolkata and Mumbai have asked for police protection due to threats from right-wing fringe groups. Considering that miscreants of the Rajput Karni Sena have been threatening not to let cinema halls screen Padmaavat, and with incidents of arson in Ahmedabad and NCR, a few cinema hall owners in Mumbai and Kolkata have approached the police.
Navin Chokhani of Navina cinema in Kolkata’s Tollygunge has already spoken to the officials of the Jadavpur police station while others are waiting to seek protection, as reported by the Times of India. Navin says, “There will be a police posting in front of the theatre from Friday.”
Confirming the news, one of the senior police officers of the Jadavpur police station told the daily that there would be adequate police posting at the cinema hall and although the protestors would not be allowed to stop the screening, they are free to protest peacefully. According to the report, Bajrang Dal has sent a letter to SVF (a popular chain of cinemas across West Bengal) not to screen the movie in Purulia.
As per a report in the Mid-day, the makers of the movie have approached the Mumbai police. The newspaper quoted a source saying:
“The Rajput Karni Sena is adamant that it won’t allow the film to release. Hence, ahead of the January 24 screening in Mumbai, we’ve spoken to the police, who’ve promised to lend support. We will be able to discuss the details about the security close to the film’s release. The events are unfortunate. Although the film has been cleared by the Censor Board, we are yet to find distributors to back it.”
Even as Central Board of Film Certification has cleared Padmaavat and the Supreme Court has quashed the order of states banning the movie, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are unwilling to go ahead. The SC, which was hearing the states’ pleas, ordered them to screen the movie and take steps to maintain law and order.
The CBFC and SC took decisions in the favour of artistic creativity and freedom thwarting the ill-intentions of these fringe groups but seems like states like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are giving in to pressure or playing to the tunes of these groups threatening democracy.
A few days ago, Rajput Karni Sena leaders proclaimed that even as the men would hold peaceful protests, Rajput women would commit jauhar, there seems to be no preemptive measures by the state government against these groups for making vile statements.
With Kolkata and Mumbai cinema owners seeking police help before screening the movie, this may result in a unhealthy trend and eventually a dangerous situation where a group of people override constitutional authorities like CBFC and the SC, turning the entire country into a spectacle.