Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday said he would consider tendering an apology only if actress Kangana Ranaut does so for her "insulting" remarks against Mumbai and Maharashtra. In a veiled jibe at the BJP, Raut asked whether the actress had the courage to compare Ahmedabad to Pakistan- occupied Kashmir (PoK).
The actress had recently compared Mumbai to PoK in a tweet, evoking ire of leaders of the ruling Sena.
Asked if he would apologise for his remark against Ranaut while reacting to her tweet on a news channel, Raut told reporters that "anybody who lives and works here and speaks ill of Mumbai, Maharashtra and Marathi people, I would say (to them to) apologise first, then I will consider apologising".
"If that girl apologises to Mumbai and Maharashtra for calling Mumbai a ''mini Pakistan, then I will think about it. Does she have the courage to say the same about Ahmedabad?" he asked.
The trouble started when Ranaut had said that she felt unsafe in Mumbai after the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
BJP leader Ram Kadam had recently asked the Sena-led state government to provide the police protection to Ranaut, since "she wanted to expose the Bollywood drug nexus".
Responding to Kadam''s tweet, the actress had said she feared the Mumbai police more than the "movie mafia", and would prefer security either from Himachal Pradesh or the Centre.
Reacting strongly, Raut had purportedly said, "We kindly request her not to come to Mumbai. This is nothing but an insult to Mumbai Police".
Hitting back, Ranaut tweeted: "Why is Mumbai feeling like Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir?".
She had tagged a September 1 news report on Raut asking her not to return to Mumbai if she was afraid of the city police.
Raut had on Friday urged the Maharashtra government to take against people defaming the city police.
He had also asked Ranaut to tour the PoK first to see the situation prevailing there.
The actress, who is currently in her home state Himachal Pradesh, had also tweeted that she will be returning to Mumbai on September 9 and dared anyone to stop her.
Sena MLA Pratap Saranik had hit back with a slap threat and said she should be arrested for sedition.