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Rajasthan govt imposes Section 144 to stop people from watching The Kashmir Files

If the order of imposing Section 144 from 22 March to 21 April is not revoked, the BJYM will protest across Rajasthan, its state chief Himanshu Sharma said

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The Rajasthan assembly witnessed an uproar today as BJP MLAs opposed the imposition of prohibitory orders in Kota following the release of the movie, The Kashmir Files. Kota BJP MLA Sandeep Sharma raised the issue during Zero Hour while his party colleagues backed him, leading to pandemonium in the assembly.

Meanwhile, the Kota administration clarified through a tweet that there was no prohibition on watching the film and its screening in cinema halls of the district. However, the imposition of Section 144 means it is illegal for five or more people to gather in a place, which makes it impossible for them to watch a movie in a theatre.

Kota authorities yesterday imposed Section 144 of the CrPC from 22 March to 21 April, citing “disturbances” witnessed in and outside auditoria screening The Kashmir Files. The order proscribed assembly of crowds, demonstration, protest, processions and road march.

The order said Kota was communally the most sensitive and that the law and order situation might be affected by anti-social elements during the festivals and due to the screening of The Kashmir Files.

Reacting to it, Kota BJP MLA Sandeep Sharma in the Assembly asked, “What kind of an order has been issued by the administration? The movie has been released across the country. Is the administration incapable of handling law and order?”

Other BJP MLAs supported him, leading to an uproar in the Rajasthan assembly.

JP Chandelia, who was presiding over the house proceedings at that time, intervened, urging members to maintain order. He said the issue had been brought to the notice of the government and asked the members to sit.

Deputy Leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore said his party would give prior notice on the issue and seek the government’s reply.

The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha will hold a protest against the move in Jaipur tomorrow. Its Rajasthan chief Himanshu Sharma said the wing’s national president Tejasvi would lead the protest. Why was the movie’s name mentioned in the order, he asked seeking clarification.

“The way the order has been released is illegal, undemocratic and unconstitutional,” Sharma told reporters at a press conference. He said if the order is not revoked, the will launch protests across Rajasthan.

Sharma said the order had been issued to please political bosses and create fear among those who want to watch the movie. Movies are a medium to express views and to bring forth the incidents that happened in history, he said.

“Why there is fear in the Congress about it? Because their intentions are wrong,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kota’s Acting DM Raj Kumar Singh said that the language of the prohibitory order was misinterpreted, which created confusion. Otherwise, there was no word in the order to show restriction on the screening of the movie and people watching it in cinema halls, he said.

The Kashmir Files can be screened in cinema halls and people can watch it during the enforcement period of Section 144, he said, adding that the prohibitory orders were imposed for the safety of people.

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