Amid heightened tension between India and Pakistan after Sunday’s attack on an Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri , the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has threatened to force Pakistani artists and actors in India out of the country if they don’t leave in two days.
The MNS Cine Workers Association, Chitrapat Karmachari Sena (CKS), which issued this ultimatum, said they will not allow the release of the films Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Raees, as they feature Pakistani actors Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan respectively.
CKS president Ameya Khopkar said presence of Pakistani artistes in India is “not acceptable”. “How can we allow Pakistani artistes to perform in India when their country is busy killing our soldiers.”
“If they don’t leave, we will force them to, in MNS style,” Khopkar, known for his opposition to foreign artists in Indian films, said.
MNS also warned producers and directors about employing Pakistani artists. “If these people do not obey our dictat, even they will face the music.”
The ultimatum comes close on the heels of both the MNS and its bête noire Shiv Sena upping their anti-Pakistan stance, demanding snapping of all ties with the neighbouring country after last week’s attack, in which 18 soldiers were killed.
On Thursday, Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant wrote to the Lok Sabha speaker, raising the issue of how India should boycott everything to do with Pakistan on the floor of Parliament.
Sawant’s letter said, “India, as a measure of action, should isolate and boycott Pakistan, socially, culturally and economically, at all levels till such a time action on terrorist camps is taken and terrorist activities are halted to the satisfaction of India, Afghanistan and bordering nations.”
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had also, earlier this week, asked the BJP government to take revenge for the Uri attack, even as New Delhi launched a diplomatic offensive against Pakistan.
In an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamna, Sena criticised PM Narendra Modi, saying his “celebrated international status” would be of no use if he could not carry out a US-style attack on the country.
Taking a dig at the MNS, Sawant said, “Some people raise this issue simply for political gains. For us this has been national agenda since years.”
Even in the past, the MNS and Shiv Sena have opposed the presence of Pakistani artistes, litterateurs and sportspersons in India, right from force canceling a concert by Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali in Mumbai to opposing a T-20 match between India and Pakistan in the city.