Actor couple Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor could not enter the Mahakal temple in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain on Tuesday night after members of the Hindutva group Bajrang Dal protested outside the shrine, PTI reported. The police baton-charged to disperse the crowd and have registered a case in the matter.
The Bajrang Dal members held protests against Kapoor’s comment from 2011, saying he liked eating beef. Clippings of the interview have been shared widely on social media ahead of the release of the movie Brahmastra. The movie featuring Kapoor and Bhat will hit the screens on Friday.
The two actors and the movie’s director Ayan Mukherjee were at the temple to offer prayers ahead of the release. However, a group of Hindutva supporters gathered outside the temple ahead of the visit to demand that the actors should be barred from entering the temple, PTI reported.
“We were making arrangements as some VIPs were about to visit Mahakaleshwar temple,” Ujjain Chief Superintendent of Police Om Prakash Mishra told ANI. “During which some people started gathering here to protest against them. One of the protestors started fighting with police officers.”
In one of the videos, police officials are seen beating and taking away one of the protesters.
In another video, a Bajrang Dal member claimed that they were protesting peacefully and only wanted to show black flags to Kapoor and Bhatt, but the police started to baton-charge them.
“We are protesting against Ranbir Kapoor and won’t let him enter the Mahakal temple,” he said. “He made derogatory statements against our Taumata. He had said eating beef is good.” Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra told reporters that Bhatt and Kapoor decided not to go to the temple because of the protests, although Ujjain authorities had urged them to not stall their visit.
“Protests…are a separate matter,” Mishra said. “There was no restriction on darshan [visit to the temple].” He added that other persons associated with the film, including director Ayan Mukherji, visited the temple. The state home minister, however, said that artists “should not use words that hurt people’s sentiments”. In the 2011 video that has gone viral, Kapoor talks about his food interests in an interview.