A day after actor Kangana Ranaut called Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut's mindset "anti-women", he responded with a tweet saying the party respects women and that those spreading "misinformation" had in fact insulted Mumbai's ruling deity Mumba Devi.
"Shiv Sena follows the ideology of great Hindutva icons Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the Great Maharana Pratap. They have taught us to respect women. But some with malicious intentions are spreading misinformation that Shiv Sena has insulted women. But one should not forget the fact that those making these allegations have themselves insulted Mumbai and our deity Mumba Devi. Shiv Sena will continue to fight for the pride of women, this is what our great Shiv Sena supremo has taught us," Mr Raut wrote.
But, Mr Raut did not offer any apology for using an expletive against the actor in a TV interview yesterday.
Ms Ranaut, reacting to the slur, had said: "Why were actors Aamir Khan or Naseeruddin Shah not called h*******r when they said they felt unsafe living in India?"
The chief of National Commission for Women, Rekha Sharma, also joined the verbal duel saying Mr Raut would go to any extent "in the name of politics".
"That's the irony. You people worship Devi but abuse a woman. You will say one thing and do something totally opposite it. Instead of seeking apology from the person you abused, you are invoking Mumba Devi's name. Anything in the name of politics," she said.
Sanjay Raut and Kangana Ranaut have been locked in a bitter war of words since the actor termed Mumbai unsafe after the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput on June 14. The actor has also been at the forefront of the campaign "Justice for Sushant Singh Rajput".
The 33-year-old actor, who is currently based in her native Himachal Pradesh, had sharply criticised the Mumbai Police probe and had said under the current government, she feared living in Mumbai. The comment led to a severe backlash from the Shiv Sena and the state's home minister Anil Deshmukh said she has no right to stay in Mumbai.
The outspoken actor then accused Sena leaders like Sanjay Raut of threatening her and remarked "why is Mumbai feeling like Pakistan-occupied- Kashmir". Her comments escalated the fight and provoked controversial statements from Sena leaders who demanded she apologise.
Ms Ranaut has now been given Y-Category security.