Stepping up its vitriolic attack on Shah Rukh Khan, Shiv Sena on Saturday branded the actor as a "traitor" for his comments on Pakistani cricketers' participation in IPL but in a U-turn said it will not oppose the screening of his new film My Name is Khan.
"Let Shah Rukh release the film with the blessings of the Italian woman (Sonia Gandhi) and Yuvraj (Rahul Gandhi) without any protection and let it run in any theatre anywhere in the country. Sena will not oppose it," Sena chief Bal Thackeray said in an editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
The Sena had earlier threatened to stall the release of the film in the metropolis where posters of the movie were pulled down and theatre owners warned against its screening.
"A Khan named Shah Rukh tells us to love Pakistan but nobody feels suffocated due to his treachery," he said. "Traitors, do whatever you want to do with the blessings of Congress. Sena won't stop you. Why should the heads of Shiv Sainiks bleed and they be jailed without any reason," the editorial said.
"We banned Pakistani cricketers despite the fact that we are cricket lovers. The ban is because of Pakistan's support to terror acts in India, including 26/11 Mumbai attacks," Thackeray said.
Shah Rukh who supports Pakistan gets protection, the editorial added. Unfazed by the Sena threat, the actor stuck to his stand that Pakistani players should have been included in the upcoming IPL and that "Mumbai is for all Indians".
A statement in 'Dopahar Ka Saamna', a sister publication of 'Saamana', had said, "On one hand, while SRK is openly displaying his love for Pakistani players, actor Aamir Khan has even put nationalistic sentiments in his utterances on this issue.
"According to Aamir, if any cricketer is good, he would like to have him in his team, it makes no difference to him, which country he belongs to."
Shah Rukh had said, "I don't know what the issue is all about...I don't know what I am supposed to retract. Am I supposed to retract the fact I'm an Indian but I don't want anyone to come to my country.
"What all that I've said is that I would like people to come to my country to participate in the biggest event and it scares me to say anything because our stakes are very high."
The film, which marks the return of the famous on-screen pair Shah Rukh and Kajol after a gap of eight years, is a love-story in the backdrop of post 9/11 America.
The film will be released worldwide on February 12.