Blockade at Chittorgarh Fort, plea in Supreme Court as Padmavati protests spread

Protests against the movie Padmavati intensified on Friday in several places across the country with hundreds taking to the streets in Rajasthan, Haryana, and even southern Tamil Nadu demanding a ban on the Bollywood film that they say has distorted facts and hurt their sentiments.

Protesters blocked the entrance to the Chittorgarh Fort in Rajasthan’s Chittor, which is associated with the legendary Rajput queen Padmini, saying they will not allow the film based on her life to be released.

The Rajput community and organisations such as the Karni Sena have alleged that Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film depicts an “amorous relationship” between Padmavati – portrayed by actor Deepika Padukone – and Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khilji – played by Ranveer Singh.

Makers of the film have denied the allegations on several occasions.

The Sarv Samaj Sangathan and some other outfits have also said a song in the film, which shows Padukone dancing the traditional ghoomar, crossed “dramatic license”.

“A dharna demanding a ban on Padmavati is continuing for the last eight days at Padan Pole. The Chittorgarh Fort will be closed for tourists today (Friday),” member of Sarv Samaj Sangathan and president of Jauhar Samriti Sansthan Ummed Singh said.

However, superintendent of police of Chittorgarh Prashant Kumar Khamesra said the fort, a world heritage site, is not officially closed.

“We have been informed by the protesters that entry to the fort will be blocked for tourists. We have made ample security arrangements to deal with the situation,” he said.

New agency ANI reported that several shots were fired during the protests against the film outside Chittorgarh fort. The Hindustan Times could not verify the report.

In March, the Chittorgarh Fort was vandalised by a group of men who broke the mirrors installed at the so-called Padmini Palace.

Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) managing director Pradeep Kumar Borad has ruled out any change in the operations of the luxury train — Palace on Wheels — and said it would run through the circuit and will go to Chittorgarh. Borad, when asked whether the tourists would be taken to Chittorgarh Fort, said the local administration be able to comment on it better.

Members of the Rajput Karni Sena in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore also demanded the film be banned.

Protest march in Hisar

In Haryana’s Hisar, Karni Sena staged a motorcycle march from the IG chowk to DC office and burnt the effigy of Bhansali. More than 50 members of the Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena were led by its state president Bhawani Singh.

The protesters also handed over a memorandum addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demanded a ban on the screening of Padmavati in India.

“The filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali did this movie without knowing proper facts about Rani Padmavati. Bhansali is mocking history,” Bhawani Singh told the Hindustan Times. “We have only one demand from the Prime Minister that they must not allow the screening of the movie in the state and in India also,” Singh added.

‘Deepika is trying to provoke us’

Rajput Karni Sena chief Kalvi on Friday lashed out at Padukone, saying she was not the president of India to roll out orders on the release of Padmavati.

“Who will tolerate the fact that Rani Padmavati is being shown as the lover of Allauddin Khilji? Deepika Padukone, in her statement, said that the film would be released at any cost. She is not the president of this nation. She is trying to provoke us,” Kalvi was quoted as saying by ANI.


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