Members of Hindutva group Bajrang Dal prevented actor couple Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt from entering the famous Mahakal temple in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain. The incident happened on the night of September 6. The two actors and director Ayan Mukherjee were at the temple to offer prayers ahead of the release of their film Brahmastra.
The group was up in arms over Kapoor’s 2011 statement where he said that he likes to eat beef. In the 2011 video that has gone viral, Kapoor talks about his food interests in an interview. “My family is from Peshawar, so a lot of Peshawari influence has also come in the food,” he had said. “I am a mutton, paaya, beef… red meat guy… I am a big beef guy.”
Clippings of the interview have been shared widely on social media ahead of the release of the movie Brahmastra, which features Kapoor and Bhatt, and will hit the screens on Friday. Several social media users have shared the video with hashtags calling for a boycott of the film.
“We will not allow them to worship at the holy Mahakaleshwar temple as a few days back Ranbir had said that he likes to eat mutton, chicken and beef in non-veg food,” Bajrang Dal leader Ankit Choube said. “We are protesting against Ranbir Kapoor and won’t let him enter the Mahakal temple,” he said, adding, “He made derogatory statements against our ‘gaumata’.”
Police officials had to resort to lathi-charge to disperse the protestors.
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra, however, played down the incident. He 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. “There was no restriction on darshan.” The state home minister said that artists “should not use words that hurt people’s sentiments”.The police have taken action under section 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Indian Penal Code against a right-wing activist.