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This is censorship of a different kind, says Bombay HC on Padmavati release being stalled

The bench also expressed concern over how those who openly announced rewards for killing actress Deepika Padukone and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali have gone scot free. 

Our Correspondent

The Bombay high court came down heavily on the government on Thursday for stalling the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati and not nailing those who openly announce rewards on national television for killing lead actress Deepika Padukone and the director of the film. 

The bench, headed by justices SC Dharmadhikari and Bharati Dangre, were speaking in response to the failure of the Crime Investigation Department (CID) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in finding the killers of rationalist thinkers Dr Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare. They expressed that this is “censorship of different kind”.

“In which other country do you see threats made to artistes and performers? It is distressing to know a person makes a feature film and several others work tirelessly towards it, but are unable to release the film for public viewing because of continuous threats. A feature film cannot be released in this country. What have we come to?,” asked the bench. 

While commenting on the threats received by the artistes, the bench expressed concerned to see even rich and influential people being subjected to it. “Today somebody says, ‘I will give a reward if you get a performer, artiste, actress killed.’ Even chief ministers are saying they will not allow release of the film in their states. Tomorrow, people will not be able to convene meetings and express their views. This is censorship of a different kind. If this is happening to people with financial strength and backing, what about poor people?,” said the court. 

The bench added, “Such open threats are being televised publically. Nothing is being done about them. We can no longer take pride in the fact that we are the world’s largest democracy.” 

Members of the fanatic group Rajput Karni Sena and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) chief media coordinator from Haryana, Suraj Pal Amu, had openly announced rewards for killing Padukone and Bhansali. However, no arrests have been made so far.