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‘There is more to come’: Karni Sena chief denies withdrawal of Padmaavat protests

By Deepika
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    Shree Rajput Karni Sena chief Lokendra Singh Kalvi on Saturday dismissed reports that his outfit has withdrawn protests against Padmaavat.

    File photo of Lokendra Singh Kalvi addressing media persons. Photo credit: ANI

    "There are many fake Karni Senas emerging in India. At present there are eight such entities operating in the country with vested interests," Kalvi told news agency IANS.

    He also said that his group has made the BJP pay - via its loss in the Rajasthan bypolls - for not respecting the sentiments of the protesting Rajputs.

    He also cautioned about the fake Kari Sena groups, that has been on the rise and making false statements.The clarification came a day after news reports said the Mumbai branch of 'Shree Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena' had withdrawn their protest against the film.

    Kalvi heads Shree Rajput Karni Sena and Gogamedi is the chief of the other group with similar name - Shree Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena.

    The Mumbai branch of Gogamedi's group had issued a letter to the production house behind the film, stating their protest is withdrawn after its members found that the movie glorified Rajputs.

    The letter, signed by Mumbai leader Yogendra Singh, stated that the group's members watched the film and decided to withdraw the protest unconditionally.
    However, Gogamedi said today no such direction was issued to the Mumbai branch.

    "I have issued no such direction and our protest is continuing. I have expelled all of them whose names and signatures are on the letter," he told reporters here.
    "The letter is being circulated on social media and misleading the public. The letter is not authentic," he said.

    The protest against the film - based on the saga of the historic battle of 13th century between Maharaja Ratan Singh and his army of Mewar and Sultan Alauddin Khilji of Delhi - is spearheaded by Shree Rajput Karni Sena chief patron Kalvi.

    The other group has also protested against the film over similar grounds, that the movie allegedly distorted history.

    Kalvi said his group is still opposed to the film and the "janta curfew" it has imposed at movie theatres will continue. "There were two issues: one related with faith and the other with history. The filmmaker has made changes to the film to respect the faith of the Rajput community but distortion of historic facts is still there in the film," he told reporters at a separate press conference. He said the protest has not been withdrawn.

    However, Kalvi clarified the group will not oppose the special screening of the film at a theatre in Jodhpur, where a high court judge is scheduled to watch it on Monday in connection with a case against director Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

    All the protests against the film which hit several states, mostly ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), started by the Shri Rajput Karni Sena and other Hindu right-wing groups without even watching the film, which was earlier named as Padmavati.

    In spite of ban imposed on the film by several states, Padmaavat finally managed to get released on January 25 after the Supreme Court intervened. However, the Shri Rajput Karni Sena continued with its protest asking for a pan-India ban on the film, because of which Padmaavat has not been released in a few states till now.

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