Protests against the Bollywood film Padmavati, starring Deepika Padukone, have taken a deadly turn. A body has been found hanging in the Nahargarh fort in Jaipur, the capital of the north Indian state of Rajasthan. A note saying "Padmavati Virodh (protest)" has been found inscribed on stones.
The body was found hanging in a corner of the historical fort that overlooks the city. "We don't burn effigies, we hang people," reads another message near the body. The police are investigating the incident. The identity of the deceased is not yet known.
Mahipal Singh Makrana, a member of the caste organisation Rajput Karni Sena, which is actively protesting against the release of Padmavati, has denied his group's involvement in the hanging. "This is not our way of protest. I want to tell people not to resort to such methods," Makrana said.
The new development comes a day after the British Board of Film Certification (BBFC) certified Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmavati in the United Kingdom. The Rajput Karni Sena's chief Lokendra Singh Kalvi had expressed his disappointment at the BBFC's decision and demanded a global ban on the film's release.
Director Bhansali has been accused of distorting historical facts in his movie and protests have been reported across the country, but the Nahargarh fort incident is the first fatality in the case.
In India, the release of the film has been indefinitely postponed from 1 December. Earlier, the Karni Sena had threatened to "chop off" Padukone's nose. The chief media coordinator for the ruling BJP in the north Indian state of Haryana, Suraj Pal Amu, had also offered to pay $1.5m (£1.1m) to anyone who "beheaded" Padukone and Bhansali.
The historical film centres around Rani Padmini, the queen of Chittorgarh, who committed ritual suicide, or Jauhar, by jumping into a burning fire to escape rape and avoid being captured by Delhi ruler Alauddin Khilji. The movie stars Padukone as Padmavati, Shahid Kapoor as Maharawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer Singh as Khilji in lead roles.