BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has come out strongly against right wing activists making violent threats against artists involved with the film Padmavati, saying that he could approach the courts if such threats continue.
“In a democracy, everyone has the right to protest, but making threats against someone is against the law and cannot be tolerated,” Swami said in an interview today.
Jaipur-based Shri Rajput Karni Sena (SRKS), which claims to represent the Rajput community, has offered Rs 5 cr for anyone who beheads Bhansali or cuts off Deepika Padukone’s nose.
“It is not part of our culture (to threaten) to cut someone’s nose or slash someone’s neck,” he said, urging those who are making such threats to cease and desist. “If they don’t, I’m ready to file a private complaint (in the courts) against them,” Swamy added.
Swamy, who has a reputation for speaking his mind irrespective of his party’s stand, is the first national level leader of the BJP to openly condemn the threats issued by community organizations against actress Deepika Padukone and film director Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Ram Kadam, a local leader of the BJP in Mumbai, had two days ago lent his support to the anti-Padmavati protesters, saying that BJP-affiliated unions of film workers would boycott Sanjay Leela Bhansali in the future for his film.
The BJP is caught in bind as it cannot alienate its considerable vote base among Rajputs in Rajasthan, nor can a party in power be seen to be supporting organizations that make illegal threats and demands.
Padmavati, a biopic loosely based on the eponymous medieval-era heroine from Rajasthan, has ended in hot water over allegations that it does not show her to be the valiant and faithful wife she is pictured as in folk tradition. As is usual in most Bollywood films, the heroine is show engaging in singing and dancing.
The Rajput community of Rajasthan literally worship her for her courage in jumping into a fire when she was threatened with capture by invaders led by Alauddin Khilji, the emperor of Delhi.
It was the custom among some sections of Rajput women to commit suicide if their side lost a war and they were threatened with capture.
However, the yet-to-be released film allegedly shows Padmavati dancing in front of Khilji, something that Rajputs find deeply distasteful and hurtful.
The Rajputs, who were local level rules of Rajasthan, initially opposed the Muslim invaders. However, during later periods, many of them maintained friendly relations and even married their daughters to Mongol rulers.