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Ban on Pakistani artists: Congress hits out at Naidu; says Centre lacks courage

Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday lambasted Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu for his remarks on ban on Pakistani artistes, and alleged the Centre lacked courage and patience.

“Venkaiah Naidu’s statement is double-edged; on one end, he wants the producers to solve the matter, while on the other end, as a government, he doesn’t want to ban the Pakistani artistes performing in India. His stand should be fixed. He should say that as a government they will not tolerate such extremity,” he said.

Kharge alleged that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is under the control of the BJP and the RSS, who can direct give directions to him on how he should act on MNS filmmakers’ deal. “Either they lack courage or patience. They should make their stand clear and what to be done for nation’s benefit,” Kharge said.

Naidu on Tuesday said the government does not subscribe to the “wrong proposal” of MNS leader Raj Thackeray asking filmmakers to donate Rs 5 crore to the army for casting Pakistani actors.

The Government has not imposed any restrictions on the Pakistani artistes working in India, but filmmakers should respect the sentiments of people while engaging them, said Naidu.

He also felt that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who had mediated between the producers of Ae Dil Hai Muskhil and MNS, did no wrong or had any role in asking the producers to pay Rs 5 crore to army welfare fund.

In principle, Naidu said he is not in favour of imposing any ban on artistes from other countries to work in India but at a time when “a proxy war” was going on with the neighbouring country, filmmakers should keep the situation in mind.