Gandhinagar: The Gujarat government and various organisations of the Rajputs on Wednesday jointly announced that cinemas and multiplexes across the state will not screen `Padmaavat` while those opposing its release will not join the `Bharat bandh` on Thursday.
Flanked by two senior Ministers Bhupendrasinh Chudasama and Pradeepsinh Jadeja, representatives of Rajput bodies claimed they had no hand in violence in Ahmedabad on Tuesday and dubbed those involved as "anti-social elements".
"Today (Wednesday), all theatres and multiplexes (in Gujarat) decided not to screen the movie. On behalf of the state government, I thank them for keeping in mind the sensitivities of the community and deciding against its screening," Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, who is a Rajput, told reporters.
The Minister, who held a meeting with several organisations, including Shri Rajput Karni Sena, said since the movie will now not be screened in Gujarat, nobody will join the shutdown called on the matter.
"Our opposition is not for the sake of just one particular community but to protect the sensitivities of the Hindus at large. No community can accept any distortion in any incident or historical character," he said, mincing no words about the Gujarat government`s open support to the protesters.
Dubbing Gujarat as a `sanskari`(cultured) and "secure" state, the Minister said the violence in Ahmedabad in the name of protest was "wrong and should not have happened".
Repeatedly asked about the government`s stand on the Supreme Court ruling that it was the state governments` responsibility to ensure security for screening of the movie, Chudasama said: "The government is with the people`s sensitivities."
As for security to theatres that wished to screen the movie, he said: "There is no issue since cinema owners have themselves decided not to screen the film."
The Ahmedabad Police detained at least 48 persons in connection with widespread arson, looting and burning of vehicles at several malls across the city late Tuesday night.
While police identified several persons as those associated with the Karni Sena, Gujarat`s Karni Sena chief Raj Shekhawat claimed no member of the organisation was named in the FIR.
Shekhawat was present at the press conference along with the two Gujarat Ministers. Chudasama vacated his chair for Shekhawat as he spoke.
"All those caught were participating in a candlelight march. When they went to their parked vehicles, police picked them. In fact, after the march, efforts were made to stop those resorting to violence but they could not. A crowd has no mind. No one can stop the crowd," he said.
"Those who indulged in violence ran away... this is a conspiracy to defame our community."
Earlier in the day, reports of protests and burning of tyres on several highways continued to flow in from across the state even as theatre and multiplex owners have announced they will not screen the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film.
Gujarat Multiplex Association President Manubhai Patel said they stand to lose Rs 50 lakh daily due to the cancellation of the release of `Padmaavat` in theatres in Gujarat.