The Maharashtra government on Thursday assured full protection to theatres screening Shah Rukh Khan’s My Name Is Khan, slated for release on February 12.

The Shiv Sena, which came down on Mr. Khan for voicing his displeasure over the exclusion of Pakistani cricketers in the IPL, has written to theatre owners warning them against screening the film.

Fielding questions, Home Minister R.R. Patil told journalists here, “Whenever theatre owners or producers ask for protection we will give it.” He has already directed the police to seek counsel on the kind of action that can be initiated in the wake of the Sena’s persistent threats and statements.

Mumbai Police Commissioner D. Sivanandan told The Hindu: “We will protect theatres which release the movie. Every incident [of Sena burning posters and such like] has been dealt with seriously. Theatres can release the movie. We are fully prepared.”

Open letter to Chavan

Meanwhile, Shabnam Hashmi, Member, National Integration Council, Ministry of Home, has in an open letter to Chief Minister Ashok Chavan expressed concern over hooliganism and urged the government to provide security to Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan.

“What has been happening in Maharashtra the past few months is absolutely shocking and is an attack on the democratic rights of the citizens of not only Maharashtra but all Indians. I request you to ensure that Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, whose effigies were burnt in Mumbai, and especially Shah Rukh Khan, who has received threats in the past few days, are given adequate security, that there is no disturbance when their films are released or screened in theatres.

The kind of filthy language, which is being used and the threats which are being issued against the senior leaders of your own party, are absolutely unacceptable and need to be condemned strongly. I request you to urgently arrest and prosecute those who are behind the recent incidents,” Ms. Hashmi wrote.

On the requirement of knowledge of Marathi for taxi drivers, Ms. Hashmi said: “I request you to ensure that no taxi driver or autorickshaw driver is harassed for not knowing or speaking Marathi [it’s good that you backtracked on January 20 from a similar unconstitutional stand on the question of issuing licences to taxi drivers], and that their constitutional and democratic rights of working or living in any part of India are not violated by hoodlums on the roads.”