Actor Kangana Ranaut on Monday thanked the central government after the Ministry of Home Affairs provided her Y-plus security amid a row between her and the Maharashtra government. Ranaut is in Himachal Pradesh currently and has been levelling allegations of an active drug cartel in Bollywood.
Those protected under the “Y-plus” category of security cover get one Personal Security Officer and 10 armed commandos.
“This shows that no one can crush a patriot in the country,” Ranaut tweeted. “I am thankful to Home Minister Amit Shah. Had he wanted, he would have told me to visit Mumbai later but he respected India’s daughter and acknowledged my self-respect. Jai Hind.”
The row began after Ranaut claimed that Mumbai felt like Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and that she feared living in the city. She had also criticised the Mumbai Police for its handling of actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. The actor was found dead in his apartment in Mumbai on June 14, in what the Mumbai Police said was a case of suicide.
Sanjay Raut, a senior leader of the state’s ruling Shiv Sena, had hit back at Ranaut and asked her not to return to Mumbai after her comments on security in the state, Hindustan Times reported.
“This issue concerns the pride of Maharashtra and there will be no compromise on this front,” he had written in an editorial. “Ranaut needs to apologise for her PoK [Pakistan-occupied Kashmir] remarks or she will face the music from our women’s wing.” Raut had allegedly used slurs against Ranaut.
In a video message on Sunday, Ranaut had taken on the Shiv Sena leader and his party supporters who were berating her, adding that the reason for crimes against women was “this mentality” that Raut “shamelessly displayed in front of the entire country.”
“Sanjay ji, I am criticising you and you are not Maharashtra,” she had said in the video message. “You cannot say I criticised Maharashtra. I am coming [to Mumbai] on September 9 and your supporters are saying they will break my jaw and kill me... I am ready to lay down my life to fulfill my obligation towards the country.”
Her comments have triggered a political controversy, with several leaders weighing in as well.
Sanjay Raut had also asked the actor whether she had the courage to compare Ahmedabad to “mini-Pakistan” after she likened Mumbai with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. On Sunday, the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is in power in Gujarat, accused Raut of “defaming” the state and demanded an apology from him.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik took a dig at the Centre regarding the security cover. “If the Maharashtra government speaks against [underworld don] Dawood [Ibrahim] tomorrow, the central government will also give protection to Dawood,” he said, according to NDTV. “They just have to oppose the Maharashtra government.”
Maharashtra’s Cabinet minister Vijay Vadettiwar asked the BJP to clarify its stand on Ranaut’s comments. “The Maharashtra BJP should clear their stand on Kangana,” he said. “Do they support the statements given by her against Maharashtra Police?”
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis distanced his party from Ranaut’s remarks, but added that it was the state government’s responsibility to protect her. “It is the responsibility of the government to protect the life of an individual,” he said, according to PTI. “Hence, though we are not supporting what Kangana Ranaut said, and nobody will support it, still it is the responsibility of the government [to protect her]. Because we are not living in a Banana republic.”
However, earlier in the day, Gujarat BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya had supported Ranaut in the controversy. He said the Shiv Sena should refrain from targeting his state “out of jealousy, hatred and malice”. Pandya had also
On Saturday, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij, a BJP leader, had also sought protection for the actor. “Kangana Ranaut should be given police protection,” he told ANI. “She should be allowed to make revelations freely [in the Sushant Singh Rajput case].”
Ranaut has earlier targeted the Bollywood film fraternity for alleged nepotism and bullying of newcomers and had claimed that these aspects had a role to play in Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. On September 2, she had suggested that there was a drug problem in the Bollywood industry.
“I request Ranveer Singh, Ranbir Kapoor, Ayan Mukerji, Vicky Kaushik to give their blood samples for drug test, there are rumours that they are cocaine addicts, I want them to bust these rumours, these young men can inspire millions if they present clean samples,” she had tweeted.