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MCA on Monday had instructed Mumbai police to keep Shahrukh Khan away from Wankhede stadium © IANS

Mumbai: May 7, 2013

With an unrelenting MCA determined to keep Wankhede stadium off limits for Shahrukh Khan, MNS leader Raj Thackeray and the Congress party on Tuesday batted for lifting the five-year ban on the actor imposed after last year’s unsavoury brawl involving him.

While MNS chief Raj Thackeray termed Mumbai Cricket Association’s action as “childish”, Maharashtra Congress spokesman Sachin Sawant said the ban was “not a democratic punishment”.

“Whatever happened [at] that time was wrong. The chapter is closed now. He should be allowed inside Wankhede stadium. He is not a terrorist who should be denied entry,” Thackeray told reporters.

He said such “childishness” should stop and the Bollywood actor, the principal owner of IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders, be permitted entry.

Earlier, in an email sent on Tuesday to MCA president Ravi Savant, MPCC spokesman Sachin Sawant said since Khan had publicly apologised for the incident, the stadium should not be out of bounds for the superstar.

“After the apology, we feel that it would be in the interest of sports if your esteemed organisation shows true sportsman spirit and allows entry to Khan. It is not the question of Shah Rukh Khan as an actor, but of any citizen — a ban is not a democratic punishment especially when the person has apologised,” Sawant said.

“I request you to kindly reconsider the punishment given to him and allow him entry for today’s match,” the MPCC spokesman wrote.

The MCA, which has refused to budge from its tough stand despite reconciliation efforts by IPL chairman and Union Minister Rajiv Shukla, had yesterday asked the local police station to prevent Khan from entering the stadium.

“We wrote a letter to Marine Lines police station asking them not to allow Shah Rukh Khan inside the stadium tomorrow [When Kolkata Knight Riders play Mumbai Indians]. This was after the police had asked us to send a letter to that effect,” MCA president Savant said.

Khan was banned for five years from entering MCA premises, including the Wankhede Stadium, by the Association’s Managing Committee, headed by the late Vilasrao Deshmukh, on May 18 last year, after he was involved in a fracas with the security staff and officials of the cricket body following KKR’s victory over MI two nights earlier.

The actor had, however, denied any misconduct and said he reacted only after children, including his kids, were “manhandled” by the security staff at the stadium.

The match on Tuesday will be the first KKR outing in Mumbai after last year’s incident.

“Action [to ban Shahrukh Khan] was taken by late Vilasrao Deshmukh [in his capacity as president of MCA], who is no longer with us and was himself a Congressman. When the concerned person [Shahrukh] himself has not bothered to apologise to MCA, I fail to understand why the Congress is concerned about this matter,” Savant told PTI when reached for his reaction.