- Kangana Ranaut will be protected by 11 armed policemen
- She had criticised Mumbai Police probe into Sushant Rajput's death
- She had said under the current government, she feared living in Mumbai
Kangana Ranaut will be provided Y-Plus category security, government sources said today in the middle of a huge row over the actor's comments comparing Mumbai to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). She is the first actor to be given the protection of the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force), which guards some 60 people in the country.
The 33-year-old actor will be protected by a Personal Security Officer and 11 armed policemen including commandos, similar to the Chief Justice of India, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and about a dozen more Y-Plus category protectees. The decision follows a "renewed threat to the actor after she spoke about drug use among a section in the film industry following the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput", sources said.
The "Queen" actor, who plans to travel to Mumbai on Wednesday, tweeted thanking Home Minister Amit Shah. "This proves that a patriot's voice cannot be crushed by fascists. I am grateful to Amit Shah, if he wanted, he could have advised me to go to Mumbai after a few days but he respected a daughter of India, protected her pride and self-respect. Jai Hind," she tweeted in Hindi.
Soon after her tweet, the Shiv Sena hit out at the ruling BJP saying it would even protect most-wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim just to spite the Maharashtra government. The Sena ended its long-term alliance with the BJP last year before taking power in Maharashtra with the NCP and Congress. The former allies have since dueled over various issues including this one.
"It is surprising and disheartening that someone who discredits Maharashtra is given Y security," said Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh (of the NCP), calling Ms Ranaut a "dramabaaz" in the state assembly session.
"If the Maharashtra government speaks against Dawood tomorrow, the central government will also give protection to Dawood. They just want to oppose the Maharashtra government," said Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik.
The BJP gave a cautious statement. "We are not supporting what Kangana Ranaut said, and nobody will support it, still it is the responsibility of the government to protect the life of an individual," said former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Ms Ranaut, currently staying in her native Himachal Pradesh, had sharply criticised the Mumbai Police probe into Sushant Singh Rajput's death and had said under the current Sena-led government, she feared living in Mumbai. The comment led to a severe backlash from the Shiv Sena and its ally NCP, with leaders saying she should stay out of Mumbai.
The outspoken actor accused Sena leaders like Sanjay Raut of threatening her and remarked "why is Mumbai feeling like Pakistan Occupied Kashmir". In the escalating fight, women Sena workers threatened to slap the actor at the airport and Sanjay Raut, a Rajya Sabha member of the Sena, was caught on camera using a slur while asking her to apologise to Maharashtra.
In a video, the actor said: "Sanjay ji you're not Maharashtra.. I am returning on the 9th. Your people are saying I will be killed. We shall meet on 9th September. Jai Hind Jai Maharashtra."
Ms Ranaut has been targeting Bollywood "insiders" over alleged nepotism, bullying of newcomers and rivalries, which she believes had a role in Sushant Singh Rajput's death. Last week, she dropped a bombshell as she accused prominent actors of drug use and named a few in her post. She has been at the forefront of the "Justice for Sushant Singh Rajput" campaign after the actor was found dead in his Mumbai apartment on June 14.