Ahmedabad, Jan 24 (PTI) Theatre owners in Gujarat today said ‘Padmaavat’ will not be screened in any of the multiplexes or single screens in the state till the row over the film is resolved, even as police arrested 50 people in connection with the violence outside malls here last night.
The Gujarat Multiplex Owners Association said the decision has been taken for the safety of customers as well as to save their property.
Hitting out at the government, Patidar leader Hardik Patel said the government failed to control the violence.
He sought to know if Chief Minister Vijay Rupani would resign in view of the situation, saying the BJP had made then chief minister Anandiben Patel quit the post after the Patidar quota agitation violence.
The protesters opposing the release of the controversial film yesterday torched at least 30 motorcycles and damaged several other vehicles parked outside three city malls, police earlier said.
Around 15 people were arrested late last night and 35 more were taken into custody today on charges of arson and rioting, police said.
As many as 30 bikes and scooters, parked outside three multiplexes in the city, were set ablaze by protesters last night, the city’s fire control room said.
To control the situation, police had fired two rounds in the air and also lobbed tear gas shells, Joint Commissioner of Police J K Bhatt said.
“The mob, which was part of the candle march that took place near ISKCON temple on the SG Highway, first reached the Acropolis Mall and damaged vehicles. The mob did the same at the Himalaya Mall. They later burnt vehicles and tyres outside the AlphaOne mall in Vastrapur area,” said Bhatt.
“Acting swiftly, police had arrested around 15 to 16 people involved in these incidents from the spot itself. To control the mob, we were forced to fire two rounds in the air.
Tear gas shells were also lobbed,” Bhatt told reporters.
Around 35 more people accused of rioting and arson were arrested by the Vastrapur and Satellite police today, the officials at both the police stations said.
The Acropolis Mall houses the PVR multiplex, Himalaya Mall has the Carnival Cinemas while the Cinepolis multiplex is in the premises of the AlphaOne mall.
The venue of the candle march was in the jurisdiction of the Satellite police, while all the three multiplexes are in the limits of the Vastrapur police station.
After the large scale violence yesterday, the Gujarat Multiplex Owners Association announced that the movie will not be released at any of their theatres.
“Following yesterday’s violence, all the multiplexes in Gujarat have unanimously decided not to screen the movie till the matter is resolved. We have taken the decision for the safety of our customers as well as to save our property,” the association’s president, Manubhai Patel, said.
He said even the owners of single screen theatres have informed the association that they will refrain from screening the movie.
“Though we are given security cover by police, we do not want to take any chances. What if protesters enter the theatre after buying tickets?” Patel asked.
“Though each multiplex will incur a loss of around Rs 40 lakh (by not screening the film), we will not screen the film until the issue is resolved,” he said.
Hardik Patel tried to link yesterday’s incidents to the large scale violence during his Patel quota agitation in 2015.
“Following Patidar quota violence, Anandiben Patel was asked to step down. Similarly, will the party take resignation of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani for failing to stop the violence over the release of Padmaavat?” Hardik tweeted today in Hindi.
“Bhakts would claim that Anandiben voluntarily stepped down. But, I strongly believe that Amit Shah forced her to step down (as CM),” he claimed in his tweet.
Police had alleged that Hardik Patel was the pivot of the violence that broke out in August 2015 during the Patel quota agitation in which around 14 people were killed.
Anandiben Patel had resigned in August 2016 as the chief minsiter of Gujarat.