SC to hear contempt plea against Karni Sena & four BJP-ruled States

New Delhi : Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movie has attracted two more petitions in the Supreme Court that will be heard on Monday. This time the petition is not for a review of the Apex Court’s order quashing the ban imposed by some states. It is instead a contempt plea against Karni Sena for the violence it has unleashed and against the state governments of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana for not reining in the protestors, despite the court’s order to maintain law and order.

The Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra listed the petitions for hearing on Monday on the lawyers separately mentioning them in the morning. One petition is by social activist Tehseen Poonawala and the other by Mumbai lawyer Vineet Dhanda.

Both have cited the state governments’ mute response to destruction of public property, including the attack on a school bus of kindergarten kids. Advocate Dhanda has sought initiation of contempt proceedings against Shri Rajput Karni Sena founder Lokendra Singh Kalvi, its national president Suraj Pal and member Karam Singh.

He and Poonawala have questioned the lack of preventive measures by the states which gave the protestors a free hand to indulge in violence; this amounts to contempt of the apex court’s January 18 order, wherein it said that the State is obliged to protect the fundamental right of free speech and creative rights.

The court subsequently refused the Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh governments’’ applications to recall its order, saying a mob cannot take to the streets to choke free speech. The court said that if the States capitulated to mobs now, they would make a “virtue out of creating trouble.”

The court had observed that the grant of certificate by the Central Board of Film Certification under the Cinematograph Act denudes the States of any power to exercise prohibition of exhibition of a film.

Gujarat and Rajasthan had issued notifications on January 5 and 17, respectively, prohibiting the screening of Padmaavat. Haryana had, in principle, agreed to a ban on its exhibition. Madhya Pradesh had made statements that they intend to ban the screening of the movie in theatres.

Meanwhile, there was no let-up in protests in Rajasthan and Uttarakhand. In Udaipur, miscreants tried to force shops to shut down. One protester tried to immolate himself. In Rishikesh, there were reports of protesters clashing with the police outside a movie hall. The only arrests were those of 18 people allegedly involved in Wednesday’s attack on a school bus in Gurgaon, which triggered a national outrage.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, who is in Davos for the annual meeting of the World Economic Summit, condemned the school bus attack. He, however, said, “There are also incidents which are being blown out of proportion”.

Sources in the home ministry said law and order is a state subject and “they should be able to tackle the issue at their end”. No state has asked for paramilitary forces. “Some asked for Rapid Action Force which was stationed in states. We allowed them to use them,” an official said.

BJP practising ‘pakoda politics’, says Owaisi

Hyderabad: Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Thursday said that the BJP is practising “pakoda politics” in the country.

“What is happening is all ‘pakoda politics’,” he said while reacting to the violent protests in some states against Bollywood movie “Padmaavat”.

While the Hyderabad MP did not elaborate on “pakoda politics”, his remarks were an allusion to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent statement that a man making Rs 200 daily by selling “pakodas” can’t be called unemployed, reports IANS.

“The unemployed are burning buses, attacking bus of school children, setting afire vehicles and shopping malls,” he said and alleged that those indulging in violence had the tacit support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Referring to Modi’s statement at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos that his government had replaced red tape with red carpet, Owaisi said the red carpet was rolled out for those resorting to violence. MIM president alleged that Modi had meekly surrendered to “these people”.

Karni Sena denies any role in stone pelting on school bus

JAIPUR: The Shree Rajput Karni Sena on Thursday denied any role in stone pelting on a school bus in Gurugram in Haryana over the screening of “Padmaavat”.

Speaking to IANS, Karni Sena spokesperson, said: “Rajputs can never even think of attacking a school bus. This is a plot being created by politicians, who wish to weaken our peaceful protest.”

“We have a history of leading from the front. We have never run away…,” he said, adding those who pelted stones were not known to anyone “and hence Karni Sena was being blamed”.

“No one saw who attacked the bus and yet we were blamed. Is there any logic in this immediate judgement?” Singh asked. “Since the start of the protest, we have been calling for a peaceful movement. We have called for a peaceful janta curfew for today (Thursday) as well.

“We extend our gratitude to cinema hall owners who read our sentiments and didn’t screen the movie, he added.

MP theatre owners meet CM, decide not to screen the film

BHOPAL: Theatre owners in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday decided not to screen controversial film “Padmaavat” even as the state witnessed protests and bandh in several places against the period drama.

The state government, however, said it was ready to provide security if the theatre owners wanted to screen the movie. A delegation of cinema and multiplex owners, under the aegis of the Central Cine Circuit Association (CCCA), met Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh and later announced that they would not screen the film as of now.

“During the meeting, we conveyed to the chief minister that the cinema hall owners are not going to release the movie in Madhya Pradesh as protests against the film have burgeoned,” threatre owner, Azizuddin, who was a part of the delegation, told PTI after the meeting.

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