Indian right wing Hindu groups intensified protests against the release of a controversial Bollywood film “Padmaavat” amid heightened police presence in various states on Wednesday, a day after the Supreme Court refused to allow some states to ban the film.
Protests against the film turned increasingly violent late on Tuesday with vandalism around a number of multiplexes in the Western state of Gujarat and dozens of motorcycles being set on fire around malls that house theaters.
Groups critical of the project have accused its director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, of distorting history by portraying a Muslim ruler as the “lover” of Queen Padmavati of the Hindu Rajput warrior clan. The filmmakers deny the accusation.
The police had to open fire to disperse crowds on Tuesday night and protests are expected to continue in various parts of the country ahead of the release of the film on Jan. 25.
In the central state of Chhattisgarh, dozens of members of Rajput community staged protests and burned an effigy of Bhansali on Tuesday evening, Rakesh Singh Bais of the community group Sarwa Kshatriya Mahasabha told reporters.
The members of the communities and from Hindu organizations will form a human chain on Wednesday and stage a motorcycle rally to give cinema hall owners final warnings, Bais said.
O. P. Galhotra, the director general of police for Rajasthan, said they have information that members of the Karni Sena and other Rajput groups were planning a protest in various parts of the state against the movie.