MUMBAI: After organizer Sudheendra Kulkarni rejected the demands of Shiv Sena to cancel the book launch of former Pakistan Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri in Mumbai today, hours before the event, Kulkarni was attacked with black paint.
“The Shiv Sainiks asked me to step out of the car after they stopped it and smeared black paint on me,” Kulkarni said, accusing the Shiv Sena party activists of being involved in it.
“They told me if you don’t listen to us, this is what we can do,” the organizer said, adding that there shall be no changes in the scheduling of the event and it shall go on.
The face of the former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) advisor was totally blackened and his clothes that were in the colours of the Indian flag were stained too.
On the other hand, Shiv Sena that rules Maharashtra in alliance with the BJP maintains that it will not permit the book launch of Kasuri as any engagement with Pakistan is not acceptable as long as they support terrorism.
“This is not ink but the blood of our jawans. Intellectuals should consider people’s sentiment or such incidents will happen. We have no grudge against Mr. Kasuri but we are against Pakistan,” Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said.
Last week, Pakistan’s legendary ghazal singer Ghulam Ali was scheduled to perform in Mumbai but the objections from the Shiv Sena led to the cancellation of the event despite the BJP and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis assuring that the event would not be called off.
‘Neither a Hawk, Nor a Dove: An Insider Account of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy’ by Kasuri was launched in Delhi last week and is slated to be released in Mumbai today in an event organized by Kulkarni’s Observer Research Foundation.
“I have come all the way not to sit in the hotel. We were not born to hate each other as I said in the book,” Kasuri was quoted as saying in a media report.
According to Kulkarni, the show was still on and CM Fadnavis has assured of complete security for him. “Na dhamki se, na sau bandook se, na goli se…baat banegi boli se(Not threats, nor bullets, only dialogue will help),” he said.