MADURAI: Police arrested seven members of a Dalit party for hurling country-made petrol bombs on Wednesday at the main entrance of a cinema theatre on Natham Road. The theatre is screening recently released Baahubali.
P Alagar (58) of Anna Nagar, A Chithiran (36) of Vandiyur, T Ulagaraj (50), G Mookan (58), R Nagaraj (21), all of Sakkimangalam, and S Muthumanickam (62) and B Chandran (36), of Karumbalai, all members of Puratchi Puligal, were arrested in connection with the incident.
The members were demanding that the word ‘pagadai’ (gambler) be removed. It was used by the protagonist in a dialogue. The members asserted that ‘pagadai’ was a derogatory word used by caste Hindus to address the Arunthathiyar community, a sub-caste of Schedule Caste.
As there was no response from the film crew, the members hurled petrol bombs at the theatre to draw attention to the issue. After the attack, they left pamphlets condemning the movie, said police.
“Around 11.30 am, four persons walking down the road suddenly took out petrol bombs from a cloth bag, and hurled them on the theatre,” said an eye-witness.
After tossing the bombs, the group ran to the end of the street where some persons waiting on motorcycles picked them up and drove away, the witness said.
However the bombs caused less damage as they hit only on the boundary wall of the theatre and the posters caught fire. After noticing the blaze the theatre staff extinguished it but the morning show was not affected, said police.
A senior police officer said members of Puratchi Puligal had also protested recently against two theatres in the city screening Bahubali.
Police booked all seven persons and remanded them in judicial custody.