New Delhi: Superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s promotional train journey from Mumbai to Delhi for his film “Raees” took a controversial turn when a person at the Vadodara railway station died and two others got injured in the fan frenzy, following which BJP leaders slammed the actor. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered a probe into the matter.
BJP leaders Kailash Vijayvargiya and Manoj Tiwari commented on the incident.
Vijayvargiya, a BJP General Secretary, compared Shah Rukh to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. Tiwari demanded that the actor compensate the family of the deceased. Prabhu has directed the Director General of Railway Protection Force to investigate the matter and take stern action against any lapse.
Shah Rukh, known for his innovative marketing strategies, left on his train trip aboard the August Kranti Rajdhani Express from Mumbai on Monday evening with “Raees” director Rahul Dholakia and actress Sunny Leone, a huge entourage of his PR team, bodyguards and select media.
He made stopovers at nine stations and waved out to the overwhelming crowds, who were screaming, shouting and even throwing things at the train’s windows to grab attention. The Vadodara railway station, in particular, was very crowded, even as cricketers Irrfan and Yusuf Pathan came to meet the superstar.
Police personnel resorted to lathi charge to control the crowd. It left two people injured. But social activist Farid Khan Pathan of Hatikhana area of Vadodara, who was at the station with his wife and daughter as the family adores the actor, fell unconscious reportedly after cardiac arrest.
A relative of a person who was travelling with Shah Rukh’s team, he was rushed to hospital where he was declared dead. Some reports even suggest that he died due to suffocation in the milling crowd.
Calling the incident unfortunate, the 51-year-old actor said he was saddened and praying that the family of the deceased stays strong.
“One of our colleagues was travelling with us. Her uncle came to see her at Vadodara. He suffered a cardiac arrest. It was really unfortunate,” Shah Rukh told the media at the Hazrat Nizamuddin station here.
“I appeal to brother Shah Rukh Khan to come forward and compensate the family properly who died at Vadodara railway station on Monday, and also condole with them as it all happened in his gathering,” Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) unit President Manoj Tiwari told reporters here.
The incident led Vijayvargiya to comment: “If Dawood Ibrahim comes on street, there would be a crowd to see him … You can’t gauge the popularity on the basis of crowd. I will not comment further… People have understood what it means.”
Vijayvargiya also gave the incident a political twist when on Tuesday, he tweeted an image reading: “If one is ‘kaabil’, even a ‘chaiwalah’ can become a Prime Minister. Otherwise even a ‘raees’ born with a silver spoon wears torn clothes.”
Meanwhile, Tiwari said: “I appeal to brother Shah Rukh Khan to come forward and compensate the family properly who died at Vadodara railway station on Monday, and also condole with them as it all happened in his gathering.”
Wherever the train stopped, hordes of fans turned out to meet the star — whether it was Ratlam, Kota or Mathura. However, strict security measures were put in place to control the crowds at these places.
Even in Delhi, the actor couldn’t get out of the train for almost 15 minutes due to a huge turnout.
His own security was in place.
Deepak Singh, who is closely involved with Shah Rukh’s security team, told IANS: “We also worked on the train promotions of ‘Tamasha’. But the security for the ‘Raees’ trip was much more. The crowd turnout was as expected but the train stops were more in number.”