Mumbai: Asserting that all Pakistani artists have left Mumbai following their 48-hour ultimatum, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on Sunday continued to stay firm on their stand that no artist from the neighbouring nation will be allowed to work in Mumbai, adding that if anyone is still “hiding” in the city, they will be hunted down.
Speaking to the media here, MNS leader Amey Khopkar, chief of the MNS’s cinema workers’ unit Chitrapat Karamchari Sena confirmed that all Pakistani artists have left the city.
“The 48 hours are over and the Pakistani artists are not in Mumbai anymore. Zee has decided to shut down its channel ‘Zee Zindagi’ where they show Pakistani shows and I want to thank them for that,” he said.
Thanking various T.V. shows and radio channels for responding to their call by discontinuing Pakistani actors and artists from their shows, Khopkar further said that he will ensure that they do not return to the city.
“You can be rest assured that they have left, but if any Pakistani artist is still left in the city and is hiding, we will hunt them down and throw them out of Mumbai,” he added.
This development comes at a time of heightened tensions between the two nations after four terrorists killed 18 Army personnel at an Army camp in Uri region.
India has blamed Pakistan for the attack as probe agencies reportedly recovered weapons and ammunition bearing Pakistani insignia from the site.
Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena has also targeted the promotions of Fawad Khan’s ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ and Mahira Khan’s ‘Raees’ , saying that filmmakers and producers ‘should not cast Pakistanis in their films’.
The Bollywood industry, however, is fuming over this move by the MNS and has vented its anger and frustration, calling on the party to keep politics away from art and culture.
Bollywood actor Riteish Deshmukh said actors have always been the first ones to be targeted, no matter whatever the agenda is.
“Artists are like soft targets, which is very unfortunate. The concentration is somewhere else and this is not the solution to it. If this was the solution then fair enough, but this is not the solution,” said the 37-year-old actor.
Echoing similar sentiments, actor Sushant Singh Rajput said that politics and art should not interfere in each other’s work.
The MNS workers’ association on Friday said they would not allow the release of ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushqil’ and ‘Raees’ as the movies feature Pakistani actors while giving a 48-hour deadline to the stars from the other side of the border to leave India.
Khopkar warned Pakistani actors that they would face serious consequences in India if they do not leave the nation within 48 hours.
“We give a 48-hour deadline to Pakistani actors and artists to leave India or the MNS will push them out,” said Khopkar.