With the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena scaling up its threat to vandalise cinema halls in protest against the screening of Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, security agencies are pulling out police records on MNS chief, Raj Thackeray, including bail papers detailing conditions against bonds signed by the politician at the Osmanabad and Paranda courts in April 2016.
State police’s intelligence wing has also compiled words used by Thackeray in his public comments, and the content of speeches of Amey Khopkar, who heads the MNS film wing. “He (Thackeray) has been cautious to make just one political statement in this period, while Khopkar has been strategically assigned all the calls for disruption,” said a senior police officer.
Earlier this year, the two courts were hearing cases relating to destruction of property during the MNS’s campaign against north Indian migrants in 2008, during which Thackeray had signed court bonds and paid a fine against an arrest warrant.
Police view the party’s threats as a “political stunt” but have deployed intelligence personnel to study every statement from the leader and his partymen since September 29, when India announced the surgical strikes.
“There are a few observations that we find strategic. While most politicians in the state reacted immediately, there was a time vacuum between the Shiv Sena and MNS in their reaction to the announcement of the surgical strikes. The Sena’s reaction was brief and congratulated the government on the Army’s strikes. When Thackeray reacted, he chose the subject of Pakistani actors in India. Everything that followed has been in keeping this strategy of threats alive,” said a senior officer.