MUMBAI/NAGPUR: Hours before the launch of former Pakistani minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book in Mumbai today, organizer Sudheendra Kulkarni, who has rejected the Shiv Sena’s demand to cancel the event, was attacked with black paint.
“The Shiv Sainiks attacked me outside my home. Right as I was leaving they smeared black ink on me. I was abused by them,” Mr Kulkarni said, alleging that eight to 10 Sena activists were involved.
The Sena has said it will not allow Mr Kasuri’s book launch. The party – which co-governs Maharashtra with the BJP – has cited Pakistan’s support to terror as the reason.
Last week, the Sena’s objections led to organisers cancelling legendary Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali’s show on Friday despite the BJP and Chief Minister Mr Fadnavis assuring that there would be no ban.
Mr Kulkarni, whose Observer Research Foundation, a think tank, has organized Mr Kasuri’s book launch in Mumbai, said after the paint attack: “The Shiv Sena has absolutely no power to impose such a ban. We will not cancel the book launch. We have taken a principled stand.”
Mr Kasuri, he said, had already come to Mumbai for the launch of his book “Neither a Hawk, Nor a Dove: An Insider Account of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy”.
A former BJP advisor, Mr Kulkarni said: “Na dhamki se, na sau bandook se, na goli se…baat banegi boli se (Not threats, nor bullets, only dialogue will help).”
Mr Kulkarni had asked Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for “adequate security” for Mr Kasuri.
This morning, he praised the Chief Minister in a tweet.