In an escalation of protests against Aamir Khan blockbuster ‘PK’, Bajrang Dal activists today vandalised theatres in Gujarat exhibiting the film for making “fun” of Hindu Gods and godmen and warned that its screening be stopped.
Besides Gujarat, the right wing activists also staged protests in Agra and Mau in Uttar Pradesh and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh and tore posters of the film. There were reports that one theatre in south Mumbai’s Parel had stopped screening of the film.
Violent protests were held in Ahmedabad and in other parts of Gujarat and the activists compelled at least two theatres to stop the screening of the film that has grossed over Rs 200 crore in Indian box office in the first 10 days since its release on December 19.
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Angry at the theatre owners ignoring the ‘diktat’ not to screen the movie that has raised the hackles of a plethora of Hindu organisations, volunteers of the Bajrang Dal outfit descended on City Gold Multiplex and Shiv theatre on Ashram Road in Ahmedabad, smashing glass panes at ticket windows to smithereens and tearing down posters.
By the time police arrived, the raiders had vanished.
“We are yet to identify the persons behind these attacks, which took place at around 10 am. We learned that the miscreants vandalized the ticket windows of both these theatres. We are now collecting CCTV footages to identify the persons. Theatre owners are in the process of lodging a case against the unidentified vandals,” Dy Commissioner of Police Virendra Singh Yadav, said.
Though the police did not name Bajrang Dal men as perpetrators, the right-wing organisation claimed responsibility and warned of similar protests in coming days if theatre owners did not obey their command.
“Around 15 to 20 of our members today went to these theatres, which are screening Aamir’s movie PK. I am warning other theatres to stop the screening, otherwise, we will intensify our protest in the city in coming days,” said city Bajrang Dal chief Jwalit Mehta, who led the attack.
Claiming that the Aamir Khan starrer had hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus by making “fun” of their gods and devotees, Mehta said he had called up theatre owners in the city yesterday and asked them to stop its screening. “They, however, ignored our warning,” he said.
“Since they underestimated us and ignored our warning, we went to these theatres today to show them what we can do. I want to warn them that if they don’t stop the screening, we will not hesitate to take extreme steps in coming days,” he said.
“If his (Aamir Khan’s) intention was right, they why the movie didn’t show anything about his own religion Islam? Why only Hindu gods are depicted in bad light?” Mehta asked.
In Nadiad town of Kheda district, Bajrang Dal staged protests outside three theatres in the town by shouting slogans against Aamir Khan and burning posters of his movie.
In Surendranagar town, Bajrang Dal members gathered outside Milan Cinema and set ablaze the poster of PK.
Activists of the hardline Hindu outfit also staged a protest outside Jyoti Talkies in Bhopal where the film was being screened. However, there was no report of any violence.
Aamir Khan has already trashed accusations of him having “insulted” the Hindu religion because he was a Muslim, saying, “We respect all religions. All my Hindu friends have seen the film and they have not felt the same”.
“Even Raju (Hirani) is Hindu, so is Vinod (Chopra) and so is Abhijat (Joshi). In fact 99 per cent of the crew was Hindu. No one would have done such a thing,” the actor said, referring to the director, producer and the scriptwriter of the film.
Members of another right wing outfit Hindu Yuva Vahini tore posters of the film, set it ablaze and stopped its show in Mau in UP and demanding a ban on the picture.
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The outfit’s District president Ajay Kumar said that if the movie was not banned then the agitation would be intensified.
In Agra, activists of the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad warned authorities that they would not let the film run in the city.
Yesterday, the activists entered Shree Talkies, tore posters, shouted anti Aamir Khan slogans and warned the manager to immediately stop screening the movie.
SP(city) Sameer Saurabh said action would be taken against the miscreants on the complaint filed by the manager of the cinema hall.
Censor Board Chief Leela Samson said she believed that the protests against the film are allegedly being instigated.
Samson said that she had been informed that the film did not run into any trouble during certification and no problems were anticipated either.