In the aftermath of vandalism in theatres that are to screen Shah Rukh Khan-starrer My Name Is Khan on Friday, the police are cracking down on the cadres of the Shiv Sena. By Wednesday evening, 59 Sainiks were arrested for substantive offences and 1,600 taken into preventive custody. Heavy security continued to be in place in theatres across the metropolis.

“The arrests are still going on,” Himanshu Roy, Joint Commissioner of Police, Law and Order, said. The police have issued an advisory to all the 63 theatres screening the movie in a bid to prevent attacks inside the hall. They have been asked to leave the first three rows empty, post two security guards near the screens and install CCTV cameras.

The day opened with theatres and multiplexes closing the bookings for the film. Cinemax also suspended online bookings. However, bookings resumed in some theatres after a meeting of film distributors.

Tension prevailed in the Lalbaug area after the arrest of prominent Sena leader and former MLA Dagdu Sakpal. Ship-owners briefly downed the shutters, resulting in a bandh-like situation. Mr. Sakpal, however, was later released on bail. An incident of stone throwing was reported from Kandivili but, by and large, the day passed off peacefully.

Home Minister R R Patil told The Hindu: “There was some tension in Lalbaug, but the situation is normal everywhere. If someone rips a poster, you cannot call that an andolan. We are providing protection.”

Withdraw threat: FISA

PTI reports from Melbourne:

The Federation of Indian Students’ Association (FISA) has urged the Shiv Sena to withdraw its threat to prevent Australian cricketers from playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament in Mumbai, arguing that this is not the right way of protesting attacks on Indians in Australia.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Shashank Manohar met the right-wing party’s chief Bal Thackeray on the issue.

The FISA said the Shiv Sena’s approach was not correct, and Aussie players should not be targeted. “We will ask them [the Shiv Sena] to withdraw sanctions and, indeed, welcome them as partners of all Indians in Australia,” spokesman Gautam Gupta said at a press conference here on Wednesday.