Taking umbrage at Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan's threat to withdraw his security cover, Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray has said that he was himself giving it up. He again hit out at actor Shah Rukh Khan by labelling him amongst the two most secure people in Mumbai along with 26/11 accused Ajmal Amir Kasab.
"What does he (Chavan) mean by talking of withdrawing my security? I am myself giving up the security," the Shiv Sena executive president said in a page one statement in the party mouthpiece Saamna.
"My security can go to Kasab," he said, and asked sarcastically who the two most secure people in Mumbai were -- Shah Rukh Khan and Kasab.
Security personnel were present in full force at the Thackeray residence Matoshri Wednesday morning, a party office-bearer confirmed.
"We have not asked for this security so they are not answerable to us. They will leave only after the state government orders them," Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe told IANS.
Until then - though Uddhav has declared that he will return the security - they will continue to remain there, she said.
Gorhe reiterated that the party had "a difference of opinion" with Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan and his new movie "My Name Is Khan" and the party activists were spontaneously reacting in this regard.
More than 1,000 Shiv Sena workers have been arrested in Mumbai for vandalising theatres screening the film.
Last night, after a day of attacks by Sena activists on half-a-dozen cinema halls in the city, Chavan warned them to "behave themselves" or he would withdraw the security cover to Uddhav and other senior party leaders.
Reacting swiftly, Thackeray had announced that he would return the security provided to him.
"Let them provide all the security to Kasab," he had remarked sarcastically, referring to the sole terrorist in the 26/11 attack captured alive and currently lodged in the high-security Arthur Road central jail.
Senior Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai said all the party legislators would also return the security provided to them.
Home Minister R.R. Patil said Tuesday night that Thackeray's security was intact and full security would be provided to Shah Rukh as well as to the theatres screening the movie due for release Friday.
"My Name Is Khan" has been under the Shiv Sena scanner ever since superstar Shah Rukh made comments in favour of the inclusion of Pakistani cricketers in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Shah Rukh is co-owner of the Kolkata Knight Riders team.
Not willing to settle for anything less than an apology from the star for his pro-Pakistani cricketers comments, the Sena also called him "a traitor".