Mumbai: Shiv Sena workers on Monday smeared ink on the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) Chairman Sudheendra Kulkarni, who is organising former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book launch here.
“As soon as I stepped out of my house and got into my car, around 8-10 Shiv Sena workers attacked me and threw ink on my face,” Kulkarni told ANI.
The attack comes in the wake of Kulkarni’s refusal to back down from organising Kasuri’s book launch.
“I profusely thank MaharashtraCM @Dev_Fadnavis for his principled & firm stand against #ShivSena threat to disurpt #Kasuri booklaunch. #Mumbai supports India-#Pakistan dialogue for peace,” Kulkarni had tweeted earlier.
Warning Kulkari before the event Shiv Sena leader, Ashish Chemburkar said, “We will ensure that the function does not take place no matter what the obstacles are before us.”
The party claimed that the only way the programme could be allowed in Mumbai was if Kasuri paid homage to all the martyred Indian soldiers who had died in India-Pakistan conflict.
Kulkarni has served as speechwriter for BJP veterans Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani, and was a key aide to both BJP leaders.
The Shiv Sena has been vehemently protesting against Kasuri’s book launch, saying it was an insult to the Indian soldiers who had died in the recent ceasefire violations by Pakistan, and had warned that there would be repercussions if the event was not cancelled.
Maharashtra’s home department, headed by BJP chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, has assured the organisers of full security cover.
Senior BJP leader LK Advani has condemned the attack on Kulkarni. Shiv Sena has slammed Advani saying Sena doesn’t need his advise as he praised Jinnah on Kulkarni’s advise.
Condemning the attack, MoS Home, Kiren Rijiju said, “Everyone has a right to protest but there should be no physical harm done.”
In a joint press conference with Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, Sudheendra Kulkarni said that the event will go on as planned. We have been assured full security and assistance by the police.
“I had spoken to Uddhav Thackeray yesterday and I had said that we respect their stand and they should respect ours. If they wanted to oppose, they should have launched a peaceful protest, added Kulkarni.”
Kasuri said that everyone has the right to protest peacefully but no one should take law in their hands.
Justifying the attack, Shiv sena leader Sanjay Raut said that this is just a ‘mild’ protest and we will not tolerate such anti-national events.
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh slammed the Shiv Sena for smearing ink on Kulkarni saying that it was ‘Talibani hooliganism’ and that Uddhav Thackeray must control his ‘goons’.
“Strongly condemn most dastardly attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni by Shiv Sainiks. Udhav Thakre must control his goons. Full support to Sudheendra,” Singh tweeted.
The senior Congress leader asserted that such ‘intolerance’ in India can’t be tolerated.
“First Ghulam Ali concert and now Kasuri’s book launch. We don’t want a Desi Taliban in India,” he added.
Reactions from political arena and activists are pouring thick and fast:
Get Inked….. I think Shiv Sena misunderstood the meaning. #SudheendraKulkarni
— Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay) October 12, 2015
Suggestion:Let writers show Sudheendra Kulkarni real solidarity by voluntarily inking own http://t.co/TXtUdY10T3 is the new statement.
— Shobhaa De (@DeShobhaa) October 12, 2015
Addressing a press conference in Mumbai, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut justified the attack on Kulkarni and rubbished the reports that Sena has called off its protest. “Our protests will continue. Sudheendra Kulkarni is a Pakistani agent and Kasuri has been supporting Hurriyat Conference.”
'Jisko condemn karna hai, karne do. Ye humara political agenda nahin, desh bhakti hai': Sanjay Raut pic.twitter.com/A7xUw8AVdL
— NewsMobile (@NewsMobileIndia) October 12, 2015
Despite strong opposition from the Shiv sainiks, ksauri’s book launchhas finally been launched in the Nehru stadium, Mumbai amidst 3 tier security.