MUMBAI: Congress today slammed Raj Thackeray - led MNS for asking Pakistani artists to leave the country, saying issuing such threats was against the law of the land and demanded that a criminal case be lodged against MNS leaders who have threatened actors from the neighbouring country.
Shiv Sena, known for its aggressive stand against entertaining artists and players from Pakistan, said this is not an issue to be solved through non-violent methods, while the BJP took a sarcastic dig at the MNS seeking to know long it would keep up the campaign over the matter.
"In a democratic country, people can travel on a bonafide visa. Why should an insignificant party like the MNS dictate terms in a democracy? While popular sentiments are against Pakistan's terror activities, no one should be be allowed to resort to dictatorship," Congress Secretary Al-Nasser Zakaria said.
He also criticised Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for not taking action against the MNS leaders who yesterday said the party workers would disrupt shooting of films engaging Pakistani artists.
"It is a shame that the Chief Minister, who also holds Home portfolio, allows people to make vicious comments and promote enmity. We demand that an FIR be registered against MNS leaders, Shalini Thackeray and Amey Khopkar for threatening to harm the foreign nationals," he said.
Raising the pitch in the backdrop of Uri terror attack, MNS yesterday asked Pakistani artistes like Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan to leave India immediately, failing which the shooting of their movies will be stalled.
Mumbai Police, however, assured the actors they need not worry as they will be given protection.
MNS general secretary Shalini Thackeray, along with the party's cinema wing president, Amay Khopkar, in an open letter, sought to know from Bollywood producers and production houses as to why they need to engage actors from the neighbouring country when enough talent is available in India?
Shiv Sena said violence against them is not the solution to the problem.
"This issue has been politicised. Sena since last many years is of the view that Pakistanis can not be allowed to earn fat pay cheques here while their country goes on killing Indian soldiers," Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande said.
"Citizens are in a dilemma now. Whether to see movies with Pakistani actors or see news channels that show Indian soldiers getting killed on a daily basis. Where is (ORF Chief) Sudheendra Kulkarni now? Why has he gone into hiding after the Uri attacks? Will he still opt for a dialogue?" she said.