Amid ongoing feud between political parties over a Marathi film ‘Har Har Mahadev’, NCP leader Jitendra Ahwad was arrested Friday by Thane Police Station in connection with the disruption of the film’s screening earlier this week. Nine of his supporters were also arrested, a police official said. Several moviegoers were reportedly scammed for choosing to see the film, an incident orchestrated by Ahwad.
Awhad, the MLA of the Mumbra-Kalwa constituency in Thane city, tweeted that he was summoned to Vartak Nagar Police Station in the afternoon and was arrested.
Ahwad has claimed that the film, spearheaded by actors Subodh Bhave and Sharad Kelkar, has twisted the history of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to create political hype. He also criticized the film’s makers for portraying Baji Prabhu Deshpande in a bad light.
Shortly after the incident against Awhad and at least 100 others, an FIR was registered by Thane Police for alleged sedition of spectators. An agitation against the film was also held at another multiplex in the northern city of Maharashtra by the Nationalist Youth Congress (NYC).
Sambhaji Chhatrapati, a descendant of Shivaji Maharaj, also expressed his displeasure with the Marathi film. “Several films stir up a stir for hurtful feelings. Using the term cinematic freedom, there have been inaccuracies reflected in the recently released ‘Har Har Mahadev’,” he said Monday.
However, several BJP and MNS leaders came forward to support the film. Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had said that beating up moviegoers for watching historical Marathi movies will not be tolerated and action will be taken against people involved in such incidents.
“The NCP that is stopping the screening of the film is reprehensible. The party is trying to give caste color to the film,” said MNS spokesman Sandeep Deshpande. Indian Express.
In Pune, the show was disrupted by members of a Maratha outfit, while in Thane NCP leader and former minister Jitendra Awhad is said to have prompted activists to block the nighttime showing of the film on a multiplex.
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