Members of the Rajput Karni Sena and other fringe groups staged a massive protest demonstration outside the 13th century Chittorgarh Fort, which houses the Padmini Palace, and blocked the entry of local residents as well as tourists into the fort.
The Chittorgarh Fort, a UNESCO world heritage site in Rajasthan, is at the centre of attention because of the agitation against Sanjay Leela Bhansali ’s movie, Padmavati , featuring Deepika Padukone . The Rajput groups have demanded a ban on the film.
Dressed in traditional attire and carrying swords, a large number of men and women protested under the banner of Chittorgarh Sarva Samaj Samiti, claiming that the Hindi film had distorted historical facts. Two gunshots were fired in the air during the speeches delivered by local Rajput leaders.
Jauhar Smriti Sansthan president Ummed Singh said a dharna demanding a ban on Padmavati had been on for the last eight days and the fort had been kept out of bounds for visitors to draw the government’s attention to the “strong feelings” in the community.
The fort was not officially closed. The district administration deployed police to control the law and order situation. A three-layered barricade ring was formed on the road leading to the fort. The luxury train, “Palace on Wheels,” popular among foreign tourists, was not allowed to stop at Chittorgarh and was diverted to Udaipur .
CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat, who was here on Friday, accused the BJP government of indulging in “vote bank politics” by remaining silent on the provocative remarks and threats issued by fringe groups. She demanded immediate action against such individuals and groups.
There was protest in Bihar too on Friday as effigies of director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and actor Deepika Padukone were burnt. Rajput Karni Sena president Lokendra Singh Kalvi met women members of the community in Patna and called for a Bharat Bandh on December 1.
Police in Mumbai said they would deal strictly with people trying to be “adventurous” ahead of the film’s release
(With inputs from Amarnath Tewary and PTI)