Padmavati fiasco proves Indians are under attack from fringe right wing groups

Rajput Karni Sena attack on the sets of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmavati indicates a larger challenge for the Indian state

The set of Padmavati, a film by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, was attacked in Jaipur today. An obscure group called Rajput Karni Sena, which claimed that Bhansali is distorting the history and portraying the Rajput princess in a wrong light, went to the film’s set, beat up the filmmaker and created a chaos. As per the media reports Bhansali’s security guards retaliated by firing in the air.

I do not know if the objections raised by the fringe group are genuine or not. Because that is not the issue here. I really also do not care if the film has intimate scenes between Padmawati and Allaudin Khilji. Because it doesn’t matter either. But what actually matters is the weakening of the Indian state and the rise of fringe groups like Rajput Karni Sena who do not take the lawand order seriously.

Rajasthan has BJP government in power. Though the party has always claimed to take a serious stand on the issues of law and order, when it comes to matters like these, there has always been a tactical support from the right wing party. Also, this is not the first time that a fringe group has taken law in its hand.

A few months back another state with a BJP government saw a similar situation where a sitting Chief Minister negotiated between a filmmaker and a representative of another fringe group. Yes, I’m talking about Ae Dil Hai Mushkil where Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena openly threatened Karan Johar. Johar’s fault? Casting a Pakistani actor in his film. What legitimised Thackeray’s action was the peace brokering by no one less than the state’s Chief Minister.

BJP needs to understand that the country does not benefit with the growing rise of these fringe elements. Even if they are from the Hindu right wing parties.

India is weakened when the state fails to protect its citizens. We landup believing less in the system and more in the non-state actors. Freedom of expression and the right to be protected are constitutional guarantees which need to be supported by the government in power.

And if BJP wants to prove itself as a serious political party which can deliver on good governance, it needs to ensure that such non-state actors like Rajput Karni Sena have no place in modern India. Groups like these start small but soon take shape of large extremist groups like Abhinav Bharat, Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janjagruti Sena.

Here’s a list of ‘sena’ who have propped up in the last few years. All of them have indulged in vandalism and hooliganism. They may claim to be legitimate protest groups but have always managed to undermine the Indian state.

Please note that these groups have nothing to do with BJP’s ideological parent – Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena

Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena shot to fame when its founder Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga attacked senior lawyer and then AAP leader Prashant Bhushan. Bagga is quite active on Twitter and espouses right wing causes. Nothing wrong with that. But the threatening method undertaken by Bagga and his group is quite disturbing.

Sri Ram Sene

Based in Karnataka, Sri Ram Sename to prominence when it attacked women at a pub in Mangalore. Since then, it is proven that the group takes money to create riots.

Hindu Sena

Hindu Sena created ruckus in Delhi’s Kerala house over an allegation of beef being served in its canteen. Interestingly while beef is banned in Delhi, it is perfectly legal in Kerala.

Bhartiya Gau Raksha Dal

The group was reportedly formed to “protect cows”. However, it has been involved in numerous incidents of lynching cattle traders, mostly from minority Muslim community and Dalits, in BJP-led states like Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Even Prime Minister Modi condemned such activities.