AHMEDABAD: Amidst increasing violent protests and threats by Rajput community members against the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Padmaavat', the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation on Sunday suspended its bus services in northern part of the state.
Confirming the report, an official said that the bus services have been suspended in Mehsana, Patan, Gandhinagar, Sabarkantha and Banaskantha districts of the state. All the buses plying between Ahmedabad and the northern region have been cancelled since Saturday night amid fear of violent protests by miscreants against the release of 'Padmaavat'.
The official added that the authorities tried to resume the services in Gandhinagar on Sunday morning but one of their buses came under the attack at a village in the district. "Thus, we have decided to halt the operations. We are in constant touch with police and will resume the service as soon as the situation becomes normal," he said.
Desai said the decision was taken while keeping in mind the safety of passengers, as the miscreants were coming on their motorcycles and running away quickly after throwing burning objects on the buses. Following the GSRTC's decision to suspend the bus services, several passengers were stranded at the state transport depots in the city.
Meanwhile, the Haryana Police on Sunday said that measures will be taken to ensure that the movie is screened peacefully in the state. "No one will be allowed to disrupt peace in the state during the screening of Hindi movie 'Padmaavat'," BS Sandhu, Haryana Director-General of Police said.
On Saturday night, the agitators belonging to Rajput community allegedly set ablaze three buses in different parts of Mehsana. They also damaged the window panes of at least six buses in the region, the district's police control room said. The protesters had also tried to block roads by burning tyres in some parts of Banaskantha, Mehsana, Surendranagar and Bhuj in protest against the film, set to release on January 25.
This morning, the agitators tried to block roads at Unava village near Gandhinagar and at Ambaji town in Banskantha, police said.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court paved the way for the nationwide release of 'Padmaavat' on January 25 by lifting the ban on the screening of the controversial film in Gujarat and Rajasthan. The top court passed the interim order on the petition by Viacom 18 Media Pvt Ltd and other producers of the movie, challenging bar on screening of the Sanjay Leela Bhansali- directed movie by
Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh.