Protests over Ashutosh Gowariker's film Panipat intensified in Rajasthan on Monday, with youths from the Jat community vandalising a cinema hall in Jaipur where the movie was being screened.
Several theatres stopped screening of the film on Monday following the protests. Shows were cancelled at Raj Mandir, Cinepolis and Inox theatres in Jaipur.
A protest demonstration was also held in Bharatpur, the erstwhile princely state founded by Jat ruler Maharaja Surajmal, where the markets remained closed.
The politically influential Jat community has demanded a ban on Panipat , featuring the events that led to the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761, with the claim that it depicts Maharaja Surajmal in an unseemly light and portrays him as a “greedy king” in dealing with the Maratha warriors who had allegedly sought his help for defeating the Afghans.
The film projects that the Maharaja had demanded the Agra Fort for helping the Marathas.
The protesters in Jaipur, who broke glass panes and damaged furniture a t a film theatre in Vaishali Nagar area, burnt an effigy of Mr. Gowariker while raising slogans in support of Maharaja Surajmal. Security was beefed up outside major cinema halls in the city. A demonstration was also held in Bikaner, where the youths tried to close the doors of a cinema hall.
After another incident of protesters burning the film’s posters in front of Raj Mandir cinema hall in the heart of Jaipur city, the police detained five persons and checked the CCTV footage to confirm the sequence of events and identify the accused.
Tourism Minister Vishvendra Singh, elected to the State Assembly from Bharatpur district’s Deeg-Kumher constituency, joined the protest in Bharatpur and addressed a public meeting organised in the town.
Mr. Singh, who is a descendant of Maharaja Surajmal, said the film had distorted historical facts and its screening in northern States should be immediately banned to avoid a law and order situation.
Initiate dialogue: CM
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot sought the Censor Board’s intervention in the matter and asked the film’s distributors to initiate a dialogue with the people of the Jat community on the movie’s screening.
(With PTI inputs)