Union home minister Rajnath Singh has assured all possible help for the smooth release of writer-director Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, which is being strongly opposed by the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) as it features Pakistani actor Fawad Khan.
The assurance came after Mr Singh met a delegation from the film industry on Thursday. The delegation, accompanied by Union minister Babul Supriyo, included president of Film and Television Producers Guild of India Mukesh Bhatt and Apoorva Mehta from Dharma Productions, which produced the film.
Following the meeting, Mr Bhatt said the purpose was to inform the home minister that there was a sense of fear over the prevailing law and order situation in Mumbai.
Home ministry sources said Mr Singh is likely to talk to state chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to ensure that no untoward incident happens and the film is allowed to release without any violence on October 28. “Rajnathji said he will speak to the chief minister of every state and assured that Ae Dil Hai Mushkil will release without any violence or issue,” Mr Bhatt said after his meeting with the home minister in Delhi. “They have assured us whatever support we want will be provided to us. Full security will be given to all exhibitors. The way we celebrate Diwali, we want everyone to get entertained and celebrate it with happiness. The choice remains with the people whether they want to see the film or not,” Mr Bhatt said.
Mr Supriyo said, “MNS is a party of goons. They should not be allowed to take law and order into their hands.” Mr Bhatt said following the assurance by the home minister he was not worried about threats by the MNS.
Snubbing the MNS, Mr Fadnavis on Thursday said his government would not allow anyone to disturb law and order. “Stern action will be taken against them. Democratic protest is fine but unlawful activity will not be tolerated,” Mr Fadnavis said.
Later in the day, the CM and his wife Amruta attended a programme organised by the Gems and Jewellery Export Commercial Council and Mumbai Diamond Merchant Association at BKC, where they felicitated the families of soldiers who were killed in the Uri attack on September 19. The 19 families belonging to the martyrs were given a fixed deposit of Rs 10 lakh by the association. Family members of the martyrs were in tears when they received the cheque from Mr Fadnavis at the Diamond Bourse hall, Bandra Kurla Complex.
Many were upset with the ADHM assurances given by Mr Singh and Mr Fadnavis. Mr Singh is scheduled to visit Mumbai on Friday for a meeting of the western zonal council and is likely to discuss the issue with Mr Fadnavis. Mr Yogesh Thok, elder brother of Sepoy Sandip Thok, who was killed in the Uri attack said, “Allowing the release of ADHM is nothing but an insult to the martyrs.”
He backed the MNS’ ban on Pakistani artiste. “Everybody should obey and support the government in fighting terrorism,” he added. Ms Parvati Devi, wife of martyr Lance Naik Rajesh Kumar Yadav, who delivered her third baby on October 1, was inconsolable. Her brother-in-law Bikesh Yadav said the family was proud that his brother had laid down his life for the country. “But his death is a setback for all of us,” Mr Yadav said.
Families of the martyrs will be in Mumbai till Friday and then return to their native places. Mr Fadnavis said that India had given a fitting reply to Pakistan with the surgical strikes. “We have isolated Pakistan as the world has raised questions on them,” the CM said.
Meanwhile, after issuing threats in Mumbai, the MNS on Thursday protested outside a cinema hall in Nagpur at Sitabuldi locality. MNS workers submitted a memorandum to the manager of the cinema hall not to screen ADHM. On Wednesday, the Azad Maidan police had arrested 12 MNS workers for protesting and raising slogans outside Metro Cinema.