Continuing its string of attacks on Pakistani luminaries, Shiv Sena – a Hindu extremist party engaged in a ruling coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra – has made Pakistani movie stars, Mahira Khan and Fawad Khan, its latest target.
According to Emirates 247, Shiv Sena announced plans to hinder promotions of the two actors' upcoming movies, Raees and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.
"We have taken a stand not to allow any Pakistani actor, cricketer or performer to step on Maharashtra soil," says Akshay Bardapurkar, general Secretary of the Shiv Sena Chitrapat Sena, the party's film wing.
He adds, "We are not really bothered about who is signing these Pakistanis in their film. Karan Johar, Farhan Akhtar, Shah Rukh Khan etc are responsible citizens and they should not cast Pakistanis in their film."
Mahira's debut Bollywood flick Raees, in which she stars opposite Shah Rukh Khan, is slated for release on Eid 2016, whereas Fawad's Ae Dil Hai Mushkil starring Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Aishwarya Rai is scheduled for a Diwali opening, also next year.
The threat against Mahira and Fawad is the latest incident that adds to Shiv Sena's spate of attacks against Pakistanis working in India.
Mekaal Hasan Band, which recently reconfigured into a Pak-India line-up with Sharmista Chatterjee as the band's new vocalist, was the last target of Shiv Sena's hostility towards Pakistanis.
Their concert in Ahmedabad last weekend was cancelled at the last minute due to protests by Shiv Sena activists on the day of their performance, reported Indian Express.
The band also faced Shiv Sena's hostility in early 2014 during a press conference announcing their latest album, Huffington Post India reported.
Earlier in the month, Shiv Sena forced the cancellation of ghazal singer Ghulam Ali's concert in Mumbai, saying that "We can't have cultural ties with Pakistan when they kill our soldiers."
In late April this year, Atif Aslam's concert in Pune was cancelled due to Shiv Sena's threats, despite the sale of over 1,000 tickets, reported Indian Express.
Outside of the entertainment sphere, Shiv Sena has also forced commentators Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar as well as umpire Aleem Dar to quit their participation in the ongoing India-South Africa series, and return to Pakistan.
Moreover, Shiv Sena attacked the headquarters of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Monday, just before Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan was to meet BCCI chief Shashank Manohar to discuss a bilateral series in December.
The host of Pakistan's former Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri's book launch was also subjected to an ink attack by a group of Shiv Sena activists.