On Friday afternoon, the 12 including Awhad were produced before the Thane Sessions Court judge and the police sought a week-long custody. The prosecution also said that Awhad is an influential leader and could interfere in the police investigation.
The sessions judge, however, sent Awhad to two weeks of judicial custody, following which a bail application was submitted by Awhad’s lawyer. The plea was heard post lunch and the bail was granted to Awhad and others after submitting a bail bond of Rs 15,000.
Several supporters of Awhad, who had gathered at the Thane Sessions Court, later also burst firecrackers outside the Vartak Nagar police station where Awhad had been placed under arrest. After his release, Awhad’s wife Rutu said: “His fight against the distortion of history will continue in other forms.”
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Among the conditions set by the court while granting bail was that Awhad should not try to influence witnesses and appear before the Vartak Nagar police station whenever he is summoned.
On Monday night, Awhad led several NCP supporters inside the Viviana theatre and asked the patrons to leave, alleging that the movie “distorted Maratha history and such movies would not be allowed to be released in the state”. They also reportedly roughed up a viewer, Vijay Dhurve, who had come to watch the movie.
Based on Dhurve’s complaint, the Thane police registered an FIR under the Indian Penal Code sections of rioting, voluntarily causing hurt, and provoking a breach of trust. In his complaint, Dhurve said that when NCP supporters stopped the screening of the movie, he asked that his ticket money be refunded, following which he was roughed up. Eventually, Awhad intervened in the matter and he was allowed to go.
The incident at the movie hall took place hours after the NCP warned the film industry that “any distortion of history under the name of freedom of expression and cinematic liberty will not be tolerated, and such films will face opposition”.
The move was in support of Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati from the Kolhapur royal family – a former Rajya Sabha MP and descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj – who had also allegedly warned that films distorting historical facts about Shivaji’s life would be strongly opposed and efforts would be taken to prevent the release of such films.
“A number of inaccuracies have been pointed out in the recently released movie Har Har Mahadev. We have also been hearing about the distortion of facts in Vedat Marathe Veer Daudale Saat. We will stall the release of any other such film in the future,” Sambhajiraje said Sunday.