Lucknow: Facing mounting criticism for resorting to violence in order to register their protest against Bollywood film Padmaavat, Karni Sena on Thursday - the day of the film''s official release - adopted a different strategy here. Instead of burning vehicles, halting traffic, screaming slogans and targeting ordinary citizens, members of Karni Sena were seen distributing roses and appealing people to boycott the period drama.
Karni Sena has been at the forefront of the agitation against Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directed Padmaavat. Scores of its members have unleashed absolute carnage in different parts of the country - burning buses, cars, bikes and making a mockery of law and order in general. On Wednesday, several of them even targetted a school bus with young children in Gurugram. While Karni Sena chief Lokendra Singh Kalvi it is not fair to blame every act of violence on him, most are indeed believed to be the work of men belonging to the organisation. Lucknow though saw a different and starkly calmer side of the men in turbans.
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Gathered at the city's Novelty cinema hall here, the protestors handed over roses to movie-goers and those who had come to watch Padmaavat were requested to not. They were even promised that they would be refunded for their tickets.
This may be a different tact from the fringe group which has made headlines for all the wrong reasons - even issuing threats to the director and cast members. Facing increasing ire against their manner of protest - which is going on unabated elsewhere and despite an all-clear from the Supreme Court and Central Board of Film Certification for Padmaavat, Karni Sena's Gandhigiri may well be a step in the more orderly direction - albeit a tad too late.
(With ANI inputs)