Politics heats up Rajasthan over Jat community’s opposition to the movie Panipat.
There were protests and a shut down in Bharatpur led by Tourism minister Vishvendra Singh' the fourteenth generation descendant of Maharaja Surajmal who said the film had wrongly depicted the ruler by distorting history.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has asked the Central Board of Film Certification to intervene and urged distributors to hold talks with protestors. Deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot urged Central Government to take cognizance of the issue and urged people to stay away from violence.
Further, the Rajput and Gurjar community has expressed solidarity with Jats. Cutting across party lines leaders belonging to the community have expressed their ire at the depiction of the seventeenth century ruler in the film.
An effigy of Ashutosh Govarikar and the film were burnt in Bharatpur where protestors demanded that the film be banned. The protests were led by tourism minister of Rajasthan Vishvendra Singh, who is a direct descendant of Maharaja Surajmal.
Addressing the gathering Singh said, “Facts have been distorted. The Marathas had been given refuge by my ancestors for over six months and were safely escorted back to Maharashtra. I urge the government to form a committee to review any film made on any noble or historical person. The family or descendents should be part of it.”
He further said, “Deependra Hudda called me and said there is huge resentment in Haryana over the affront to the statesman ruler.”
Gehlot while protecting the right of artists and art to be independent said that there should be no disrespect towards noble historic persons. “The censor board should look into the issue again. I am in touch with the top administrative officials of the state and we hope to reach a solution soon.”
Pilot wanted the central government to intervene and diffuse the situation, “The young learn about historical figures Why does this repeatedly happen in Rajasthan. I urge the central government to take cognizance and ask censor board to correct the wrong.”
In a surprising move the Rajput and Gurjar communities have expressed solidarity with the Jats and announced to join the protests. They expressed anger at the depiction of Maharaja Surajmal; whom they described as one of the most respected erstwhile rulers of Rajasthan. The announcements were made by Giriraj Singh Lotwada president Rajput Sabha Bhawan, the supreme body of Rajputs and Himmat Singh Gurjar, prominent Gurjar leader.
Shows were cancelled in two cinema halls of Jaipur after protestors vandalized Inox Vaibhav in Vaishali Nagar.
The Jats are a political force in North India. It would pose a serious law and order issue if other states joined the protest.