Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Saturday said Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan deserves Pakistan's highest civilian award, the Nishaan-E-Pakistan, for supporting the inclusion of Pakistani cricketers in the IPL.
In a scathing editorial in Saturday's party mouthpiece Saamna, Thackeray said that the "Khan" inside Shah Rukh Khan must be crushed by the "Har Har Mahadev" war cry of the "Shivaji" inside the Hindus.
This was an oblique reference to Chhatrapati Shivaji's killing of Bijapur general Afzal Khan, sent by Sultan Adil Shah II of Bijapur in 1659, at Pratapgad in Satara district of western Maharashtra.
The Shiv Sena hit out at Shah Rukh Khan, also the Kolkata Knight Riders co-owner, after he said he would have picked a Pakistani player for the Indian Premier League matches if his team had a slot.
IPL franchise owners did not bid for Pakistani players during the auction for the IPL III, which has snowballed into a major spat between the two countries.
The editorial said that if "Shah Rukh wants to give a red carpet treatment to Pakistani cricketers on the blood of innocent Indians slain by Pakistani terrorists from Kashmir to Mumbai", then, Thackeray warned, the Shiv Sena will never permit it.
It pointed out that by supporting the cause of Pakistani players, Shah Rukh has insulted the memory of the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks - for which Pakistan may confer the Nishaan-E-Pakistan - but Indians will spit on him.
The editorial further noted that nobody from the Congress has raised a voice against Shah Rukh since he is considered close to Sonia Gandhi.
Thackeray wrote in his article that "since SRK has so much love for the Pakistanis the Bollywood actor could appoint 26/11 terror accused Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab as the captain of his Kolkata Knight Riders team and Mohammed Afzal Guru (facing death penalty for the 2001 attack on parliament) as the vice captain in the forthcoming IPL matches".
In this context, Thackeray praised Amitabh Bachchan for rejecting a doctorate awarded by Queensland's Brisbane University, to protest the attacks on Indians in Australia.
"This is true love for our country," he said.
In a related development, Congress state spokesman Hussain Dalwai wrote to state Home Minister RR Patil demanding security for Shah Rukh's forthcoming release "My Name Is Khan".
Dalwai also urged Patil to ensure that those police officers who cannot prevent violence or disruption of the movie within their respective jurisdiction must be suspended.
Former chief minister and union Minister for Heavy Industries Vilasrao Deshmukh on Saturday criticised the Sena for its stand on Shah Rukh.