Political parties in Maharashtra have come out in support of Bollywood star and Kolkata Knight Riders co-owner Shah Rukh Khan by urging the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) to lift the five-year ban on the actor that prevents him from entering the city’s Wankhede Stadium.

On Tuesday, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray said Mr. Khan should be allowed to enter the stadium as “he was not a criminal or a terrorist.”

The ban on Mr. Khan followed a brawl he had with MCA officials last year. Mr. Khan alleged that security officials had “manhandled” and “misbehaved” with him and some children, believed to be his daughter’s friends, when they tried to enter the ground after a match. Mr. Khan had allegedly abused the security guards, MCA officials and the BCCI during the brawl.

Saying that the MCA had other pressing issues to tackle, Mr. Thackeray urged the MCA to open its doors for Mr. Khan as he had already publicly apologised for his behaviour.

Mr. Thackeray also drew support from the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC).

In an e-mailed statement to MCA president Ravi Savant, MPCC spokesman Sachin Sawant said: “After his apology, we feel that it would be in the interest of sports if your esteemed organisation [MCA] shows true sportsman spirit and allows entry to Mr. Khan. It is not the question of Mr. Khan as an actor, but of any citizen — a ban is not a democratic punishment especially when the person has apologised,” Mr. Sawant said.

“I request you to kindly reconsider the punishment given to him and allow him entry for today’s (Tuesday’s) match,” the MPCC spokesman wrote.

  • He has already publicly apologised, says Raj Thackeray

  • A ban is not a democratic punishment, says Sawant