The Shri Rajput Karni Sena, who also go by the stylish acronym SRKS, is a Hindu nationalist caste group that nobody ever thinks about. That is, except when they deliberately catapult themselves into the news by crying and raging every time someone makes a historical movie, like they did in 2008 over Jodhaa Akbar, and now, over the hastily renamed Padmaavat (neé Padmavati).
After slapping Sanjay Leela Bhansali and threatening to chop off Deepika Padukone’s nose, members of the Karni Sena have come up with an absurd new plan to thwart the movie’s release. Thankfully, instead of lashing out at filmmakers, actors and rangoli artists, the group has now turned its frenzied frustration and anger inwards onto itself.
In what really seems like a last-minute bid for attention, a spokesperson for the Karni Sena, Virendra Singh, has announced that if the movie is released, “women of Kshatriya Samaj will perform jauhar on 24 January – the day when the queen performed jauhar – and at the same site.”
This is apparently the final phase of a carefully planned, “phase-wise” protest.
A Karni Sena representative board is set to meet PM Narendra Modi on 16 January in Barmer, Rajasthan, to request him to stop the screening of the film, and a delegation of the Sena will accost Rajnath Singh on his visit to Udaipur to make the same request on Sunday, 21 January. These seem to be the only other two phases of the planned protest, so it is indeed a huge, alarming and unexpected leap and escalation to the planned female mass suicide on Wednesday.
Singh also said that the protest was actually planned for 25 and 26 January, but that it was shifted in the wake of Republic Day celebrations. Presumably it doesn’t look good for anyone if women commit mass suicide on Republic Day.
It is of course highly alarming that a man has announced that many women will commit suicide if a movie is released. We are very concerned and urge all women, Rajput or otherwise, not to engage in such behaviours. If a movie or anything else is making you feel suicidal, or if you ever just feel the need to find someone to talk to, reach out to a suicide prevention hotline immediately.