The release of a Bollywood film, Padmavati, has been delayed indefinitely amid continued protests from Hindu groups, with an official from India’s ruling BJP placing a bounty of 10 crore rupees ($1.5m) on the heads of the film’s actress Deepika Padukone and its director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
“We will reward the ones beheading them, with 10 crore rupees, and also take care of their family’s needs,” Suraj Pal Amu, chief media coordinator for the BJP in northern Haryana state, told ANI news agency on Sunday.
Surajpal Singh Amu, the party’s chief media coordinator who made the announcement, also threatened to “break the legs” of Ranveer Singh, who plays the role of Alauddin Khilji, the Delhi Sultan obsessed about the legendary 13th Century Queen of Chittor.
Hailing from a Rajput family in Gurgaon’s Sohna town, Amu is a law graduate. During his student days, he was associated with the BJP’s student wing, the ABVP, from 1984 to 1986.
He told media that he respected Padukone for “being a daughter of Hindustan… I won’t speak against any woman as we are fighting for the honour of women. Our struggle will continue until Padmavati is banned.”
The BJP, which also runs the central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, distanced itself from the provocative statement.
Padmavati is based on a 16th century Sufi epic poem, “Padmavat” in which a brave and beautiful Rajput queen chose to kill herself rather than be captured by the Muslim sultan of Delhi, Allaudin Khilji. Over centuries of its retelling, the epic has come to be seen as history, despite little evidence.
Case registered, Surajpal Amu Booked
The Gurugram Police on Tuesday booked Haryana BJP leader Surajpal Singh Amu for allegedly announcing a Rs 10 crore reward to anyone beheading Bollywood filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali and actor Deepika Padukone.
A case has been registered against Amu, the chief media coordinator of the BJP’s Haryana unit, for criminal intimidation under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the sector 29 police station on a complaint filed by a Bhansali fan, a police official said.
Amu, meanwhile, remained defiant and dared the Haryana Police to arrest him.
The BJP leader said he stood firmly by his statement whether he remained in the party or not.
Amu said he made the statement personally as a “Rajput” and not as an office-bearer of the party.
The release of the film was “voluntarily” deferred on Sunday by its producers following extensive protests, vandalism and threats.