Activist and writer Sudheendra Kulkarni, one of the organisers for former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book launch in Mumbai, was attacked outside his home allegedly by Shiv Sena members who threw black ink on his face on Monday.
The Shiv Sena has threatened to disrupt the launch of Kasuri’s book “Neither a Hawk nor a Dove: An Insider’s Account of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy” scheduled for Monday.
The threat came days after a warning from the Shiv Sena led to the cancellation of concerts in Mumbai and Pune by acclaimed Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali.
Kulkarni said Kasuri is his guest and he had taken a principled stand to go ahead with the book launch. Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has complete security for the event.
“It is our duty to protect and honour Kasuri. I will host him even after this attack on me,” He said that he shared the Shiv Sena’s concerns about terrorism emanating from Pakistan but made it clear that ideas should not be opposed through violence.
Earlier, Kulkarni had tweeted that the conflict between India and Pakistan can be resolved only through dialogue. He said the book launch was a small efforts to keep the process of dialogue alive.
— Sudheendra Kulkarni (@SudheenKulkarni) October 12, 2015
Kulkarni said the Shiv Sena could have voiced its opposition in a debate instead of threatening and attacking him. Kulkarni met Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday night in a bid to get his backing for the book launch. However, the Sena said that it will not go back on its protest.
Sena spokesperson Harshal Pradhan said the party would carry out protests outside the venue of the event on Monday.
“However, we will have to trace the identity of the people who attacked. If there are Sainiks, we are proud of them,” he said. Kasuri was Pakistan’s foreign minister under General Pervez Musharraf and has elaborated on his stint in his book. The book was first released in Lahore last month and in Delhi last week. The Mumbai launch is being organised by the Observer Research Foundation.
Kulkarni, a former member of the BJP, was a key member of previous Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s team and helped write his speeches. In recent years, he has been critical of right-wing groups allied to the BJP.