Congress Party has asked the country's media to boycott the likes of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray for threatening to shut down Hindi news channels.
"It is my sincere appeal to the media, specially the news channels, to boycott such people who incite separatist ideologies through mass communication. They are in the position to make inflammatory statements because the media displays it in the headlines. If you start boycotting such people, it will put an end to such blatant statements," said party spokesperson Manish Tewari.
Echoing similar views, Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury said, "I don't think Raj Thackeray is qualified to say that the media will be closed, nobody can close down any media no matter how much they wish for it. It is not possible."
However, Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi hit out the Congress for letting Thackeray adopt such an attitude against people of the Hindi heartland.
"I think this entire incident is sponsored by the Congress Party. The regional leader knows beforehand about what letter is being written by the government of Bihar to the government of Maharashtra. The Maharashtra state government and the chief secretary reveal this information later, Thackeray knows things first. So this gives room to a lot of doubt and questions," he said.
"His statements are irresponsible, these attacks on media -- what is the difference then between the attacks in Azad Maidan and this? Someone is using bullets while the other is using language to attack the media. Their mentality and psychology is the same," he added.
Meanwhile, Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Prakash Karat demanded strict action against Thackeray.
"These statements are against the nation. All citizens of the country, whether they are from Bihar, Punjab or any other state, have the right to settle and work in any part of India. Action should be taken against him for the statements made by Raj Thackeray," Karat told media personnel.
Alleging that Hindi news channels were ''distorting'' his statements, Thackeray on Sunday had said that they should not air such news items without understanding the issues.
Thackeray said, "I want to tell Hindi news channel to first understand the issue before it is broadcast, otherwise we know how to stop it".
Thackeray's reaction comes after some Hindi news channels and leaders of Janata Dal - United, Rashtriya Janata Dal and BJP attacked him for his earlier remarks that he would brand Biharis as "infiltrators" and make them leave Maharashtra.