Shiv Sena calls off protest against Kasuri's book launch

Published October 12, 2015
Sudheendra Kulkarni (L), chairman of the Observer Research Foundation Mumbai, with his face smeared with black ink, holds a copy of a book by former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri (R) during a news conference in Mumbai ─Reuters
Sudheendra Kulkarni (L), chairman of the Observer Research Foundation Mumbai, with his face smeared with black ink, holds a copy of a book by former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri (R) during a news conference in Mumbai ─Reuters

MUMBAI: Shiv Sena has announced to withdraw their protest against Kasuri’s book launch event in Mumbai city, The Hindu reported.

The announcement came after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis intervened and persuaded senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut to back off from the protest.

Earlier at least 10 to 15 Shiv Sena activists had attacked Sudheendra Kulkarni, organiser of former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri's book launch, hours before the event, NDTV had reported.

Raut while speaking to media said that the CM has told him that there should be no anti-Pakistan statement at the book launch.

"When I got out of home, a group of Shiv Sainiks ─ some 10, 15 of them ─ stopped my car. When I came out, they smeared my entire body with black oil paint, shouted slogans and said 'we had ordered you to cancel the programme, you didn't listen to us, this is what we'll do'. They abused me," Kulkarni ha dsaid following the attack.

The organiser of the programme said he had earlier told Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray that the programme will not be cancelled. "We respect your right to protest peacefully, you should respect our right to hold the programme ... We are not doing anything unlawful," he told NDTV.

Sudheendra Kulkarni, chairman of the Observer Research Foundation Mumbai, with his face smeared with black ink, speaks to journalists in Mumbai ─ Reuters
Sudheendra Kulkarni, chairman of the Observer Research Foundation Mumbai, with his face smeared with black ink, speaks to journalists in Mumbai ─ Reuters

Kulkarni said the government has assured security for Kasuri and the programme.

"We are profusely thankful to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra who has taken a very disciplined and firm stand against these kinds of threats," he said.

He added, "We are going to go ahead with the programme, we are not going to be deterred by these things."

Kulkarni and Kasuri held a joint press conference following the incident, NDTV reported. The organiser welcome the former minister, thanking him for accepting the invitation.

Kasuri said he was unhappy about the attack on Kulkarni. Recognising the right of people to protest, he said as long as the protest was peaceful, it was justified but that what happened to Kulkarni was beyond that.

Sudheendra Kulkarni looks on as former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri speaks to media in Mumbai ─ AFP
Sudheendra Kulkarni looks on as former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri speaks to media in Mumbai ─ AFP

Kasuri reached Mumbai on Sunday for the last leg of his book release tour. His book ‘Neither a Hawk nor a Dove: An Insider’s Account of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy’ will be launched at Mumbai's Hall of Culture, Nehru Centre.

"My Indian sponsors say we should not chicken [out] before any threat by the Shiv Sena," Kasuri told Dawn Newspaper.

"There are some 20 security men guarding me. I’m leaving it all to Allah."

Also read: Actor Dilip Kumar intervened to defuse Kargil crisis: Kasuri

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