Openly coming out in support for the release of film Padmavati, the Bombay High Court on Thursday said “what have we come to be. This is called a censorship of different kind, where you will not be alive to say anything, we are very disturbed.”A division bench of Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice Bharati Dangre, while coming down heavily on the present situation, where chief minister of different states have stopped screening of films, it said “we have been noting that all the crimes and attempts by fringe groups to attack rational views and expressions is disturbing. What would have happened, if these people (filmmakers/performers) were not financially strong to withhold open threats of being beheaded, does this not affect government. Soon people will not be able to even convene a meeting.”The observations came by the bench while hearing a petition filed by the family members of deceased rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar and Dr Govind Pansare, seeking a court monitored probe.Commenting on the reward being offered by some people for killing actor Deepika Padukone and director Sanjay Lela Bhansali, the court said, “The situation so created is not conducive for writers, performers, social thinkers, who are under threat. What is at stake is our democratic nation, we cannot take pride to be a largest democracy, when we are confronted with the happenings around.”Asking the government to learn from the attack on the Indian Parliament and assassination of Prime Minister, the court said “In other countries when a man drives in a truck with arms, within hours the police track him down, dead or alive. The entire country is locked down and they take the attack as an affront to the nation. Everybody is alerted, but we don’t take it seriously. It has a cascading effect, officials are detached from public sentiment.”The court has asked the CBI and SIT probing the cases, of Dabholkar and Pansare to work together and convene a joint meeting to share information and details to track down the wanted accused.Asking the government to be sensitive to the threats faced by journalist, writers, performers and social thinkers especially in progressive states of Maharashtra and Karnataka, court said, “These states were known for their progressive thinkers and social reformers but now the situation is such that if your view is contrary, they will knock you out. Situation will get worse. If this continues, we will not hesitate in taking charge, how many incidents can we keep ignoring.”Referring to the attack on two foreigners by a mob for refusing to take their pictures, Justice Dharmadhikari said “somebody visits this country as a tourist and he is attacked. Performances are disrupted, shows stopped. It is happening in every state. Imagine the image of country that is being seen outside in the world. The court continue hearing the plea on December, 21.
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Padmavati row | ‘Our democratic nation is at stake…what have we come to be,’ Bombay High Court blasts fringe groups