As so-called affiliates of fringe right wing groups continued to make public threats towards actress Deepika Padukone and filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, state government authorities, police and political parties failed to reign the thugs in, and watched silently as the protests spiralled out of control.
In a latest bid to gain legitimacy, members of the Akhil Bhartiya Kshatriya Mahasabha (ABKM) announced a Rs 1 crore reward for anyone who burns Padukone alive.
"Deepika should know how it feels like to be burnt alive. The actress will never know the sacrifice of the queen. Any person burning her alive will be given Rs 1 crore. We demand that office- bearers of the organisation be shown the movie before it is released," ABKM's youth wing leader Bhuvneshwar Singh said.
Members of ABKM burnt over a hundred effigies of Padukone, who plays the titular character in the film 'Padmavati', and shouted slogans.
Yesterday, a BJP office bearer from Haryana announced a 10-crore bounty on the heads of Padukone and Bhansali, an inflammatory threat that has shocked people, but failed to attract the attention of lawmakers.
Surajpal Amu, the party's chief media coordinator, has even threatened to "break the legs" of Ranveer Singh, who Alauddin Khilji in the film.
Such has been the violent posturing by fringe groups who are vying with each other to become mainstream by forcing the release date of the film to be postponed that filmmaker Shyam Benegal yesterday questioned the government for its silence.
"Will people ask for heads publicly and offer money for the lives of those who disagree with them, and the state will do nothing to prevent it? The Home department and the police should move in immediately and offer protection. That would be the thing to do. When chief ministers and members of government adopt such an approach, what else will the administration do," Benegal told The Indian Express.
Meanwhile the Shri Rajput Karni Sena, another group protesting the release of the film they claim have distorted historical facts, have deferred their 1 December 'Bharat Bandh' call. "Once the new release date is announced, we will again apply our full strength and force to stop the release of Padmavati," said Lokendra Singh Kalvi, the group's founder.
People reached with disgust, shock and anger on Twitter.
Basically this is a 'supari'— Aditi Rao Hydari (@aditiraohydari) November 20, 2017
Its a free for all, is there no difference between a gangster & a political leader?
The government is quiet... why?
This is a deep embarrassment for india 😐
Ps- And now I'll be trolled and abused and told my name is 'hydari'
Pps- 🙄 🤦🏻♀️🙅 https://t.co/OAJyYL4MYO
Criminal openly threatening to behead people came to a news studio. Someone offered them coffee. Someone mic'ed them up. "Haan sword is fine, I checked" beeped a walk talky. "Sir you're on in 5 minutes :)"— Tanmay Bhat (@thetanmay) November 19, 2017
The real question is: what is the Padmavati row distracting us from?— Tanmay Bhat (@thetanmay) November 19, 2017
I love India, where FIRs are filed for tweets and people are arrested within hours for Facebook posts but a guy is threatening to cut off an actresses's nose on camera multiple times and no arrest has been made so far. Don't be fooled, non action is tacit agreement.— Hardik Rajgor (@Hardism) November 17, 2017
I hope at least now you all can hear the chilling silence. #Padmavati— Shirish Kunder (@ShirishKunder) November 19, 2017
The real culprits in Padmavati are not the Karni Sena but the govts in Rajasthan, UP and Centre who stay silent instead of ensuring law and order and arresting the criminal mobs: @AzmiShabana tells me @IndiaToday— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) November 19, 2017
#Padmavati— Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats) November 19, 2017
Approximately 4 weeks from now, I expect one number speech from Modi in which he talks in general terms on how art should be appreciated, and violence has no place in society.
We can all clap then.
Not even a single leader across all political parties would dare to stand with #Padmavati makers without ifs and buts. That's the clout of the caste in our political system.— Rofl Gandhi चटनी सेना 🍟🍔🌯 (@RoflGandhi_) November 19, 2017
Padmavati row is easy to handle for the BJP & the media, if compared to #Rafale jet scam. Therefore the hullabaloo. People are easily being swayed to engage in a nonsensical issue related to a movie than talk about losses of billions of dollars to the exchequer. Wah, India!— Gaurav Pandhi (@GauravPandhi) November 20, 2017
Issue with #ADHM..'Public sentiment against Pakistanis'. #Padmavati..'Public sentiment against x,y,z,1,2,3..' Jab public sentiment par Desh chalana hai to 'Governance' kis chidiya ka Naam hai? Ppl will make or break law at will n news channels will invite murderers on prime time!— Faridoon Shahryar (@iFaridoon) November 19, 2017
So impressed with bravery of rajputs ready to pay others to behead people over a movie. #Padmavati. Jai hind.— Saba Naqvi (@_sabanaqvi) November 19, 2017
CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi has said "it is disappointing that the film 'Padmavati' is being screened for the media and getting reviewed on national channels without the CBFC having seen or certified the film."
"It's myopic to treat the certification process haphazardly to suit convenience. On one hand, holding the CBFC responsible and pressurizing to accelerate the process. And on the other hand, attempt to subvert the very process, sets an opportunistic precedent," he said.
(With inputs from agencies)