As the police began picking up Shiv Sainiks from their homes — to prevent disruption of the release of the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer My Name is Khan — many Sena workers started leaving the city on Tuesday.
But SRK and Karan Johar can’t breathe a sigh of relief — the Sainiks plan to return en masse on Friday when the movie will be released to allegedly create trouble.
Johar met Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Home Minister R.R. Patil in the evening to discuss the security measures. Earlier in the day, he had also visited Mumbai police commissioner D. Sivanandhan’s Crawford Market office to express concern.
“Sainiks who vandalise theatres will be dealt with severely. I asked Karan Johar to meet the police commissioner in the morning and assured all protection for his film,” the CM said, adding that the government would withdraw security to Sena legislators if they are involved in violence.
“We will not provide security to any person who indulges in violent acts.”
The issue, which blew up after the actor spoke in favour of inclusion of Pakistani players in the IPL, seemed to have settled by last weekend. But Tuesday saw the Sena stepping up protests, with workers demonstrating outside nine theatres and vandalising three, stalling advance bookings and tearing up film posters. The police arrested 167 suspected Sainiks.
“We will not allow the movie to be released. Shah Rukh should come and apologise to Balasaheb first and only then can we have talks,” said Manohar Joshi, party leader and former Lok Sabha speaker.
“The party stands firmly behind the Sainiks who protested. We will continue protests against Shah Rukh,” Sena MP and party spokesperson Sanjay Raut said.
Sivanandhan has assured theatre owners of “every possible” security to theatres where the movie will release.