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Sudheendra Kulkarni, chairman of the Observer Research Foundation Mumbai, with his face smeared with black ink, speaks to journalists in Mumbai, India, October 12, 2015. —Reuters
Sudheendra Kulkarni, chairman of the Observer Research Foundation Mumbai, with his face smeared with black ink, speaks to journalists in Mumbai, India, October 12, 2015. —Reuters
Indian activist Sudheendra Kulkarni (L), whose face was blackened by ink in an alleged attack, looks on as former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri speaks to media in Mumbai on October 12, 2015. —AFP
Indian activist Sudheendra Kulkarni (L), whose face was blackened by ink in an alleged attack, looks on as former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri speaks to media in Mumbai on October 12, 2015. —AFP

MUMBAI: Indian police said Tuesday they had arrested six members of far-right political group Shiv Sena over an ink attack on an activist who organised the launch of former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book.

As he left his Mumbai home on Monday, Sudheendra Kulkarni had ink thrown on him by a group of activists from the Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena party, in the latest apparent attack on free speech in the country.

“We have arrested six men, they are all Shiv Sainiks and have been released on bail,” Mumbai Police Deputy Commissioner Dhananjay Kulkarni told AFP.

Sudheendra Kulkarni condemned the incident as an “assault on democracy” as he addressed the media in Mumbai on Monday, his face and hair covered in ink.

The launch of Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri's book “Neither a Hawk nor a Dove: An Insider's Account of Pakistan's Foreign Policy” later passed in the western Indian city without incident.

Speaking to a news conference, Kulkarni said: “I welcome Mr Kasuri to this great city. I thank him for coming even though we already had indications about some forces threatening him.”

Kasuri sat by his side at the press meet, the painted face glistening in camera lights, Dawn newspaper reported.

Kulkarni blamed the Shiv Sena for the attack on him and said the group had threatened to disrupt the launch of Kasuri’s book in “typical Shiv Sena style”. He added: “Even then the scheduled launch will be held as planned.”

Kulkarni had earlier tweeted that the conflict between India and Pakistan could be resolved only through dialogue. He said the book launch was a small endeavour to keep the process of dialogue alive.

Kulkarni is a former member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was a key member of former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s team and helped write his speeches. In recent years, he has been critical of right-wing groups allied to the BJP.

The Shiv Sena, a junior partner in a ruling coalition with the BJP in the Maharashtra state government, was last week accused of using threats to force the cancellation of an appearance in Mumbai by Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali.

Also read: Is Ghulam Ali to bear the brunt of what Ajmal Kasab did?

There are growing concerns over freedom of speech in India after the execution-style killing in August of M.M. Kalburgi, a leading secular scholar who had angered hardline Hindu groups.

Shiv Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut described the ink attack as a “non-violent protest”.

Comments (84) Closed

Angry Pitbull Oct 13, 2015 10:38am

Mr.Kasuri book has got more publicity than his expectation.

Shiraz Oct 13, 2015 10:40am

Intolerance at its peak.

Angry Pitbull Oct 13, 2015 10:44am

I am pretty sure there will be some deal on book sale between kasuri , kulkarni and sena.

Faizan Mohammad Oct 13, 2015 10:45am

This unfortunate incident should serve as a blessing in disguise and open up many minds in both countries to rational thinking and peaceful endeavors. There is no way out other than peace.

Ali Oct 13, 2015 10:46am

Incredible india.

This type of country now wants to have veto power in UN!

shah Oct 13, 2015 10:47am

Democractic india? Give me a break

Anoush Oct 13, 2015 10:55am

Looks like all is stage managed.

Sri Oct 13, 2015 10:57am

@Ali mind you China has a veto power a country which ran tanks over its citizens

True Paradox Oct 13, 2015 10:59am

@shah's a democracy.....that's why they were prosecuted....what is ur point????

on looker Oct 13, 2015 11:05am

I'm sure India can do better than this - sanity will prevail.

gerry dcunha Oct 13, 2015 11:12am

Intolerance in India and Pakistan are the two side of the same coin since their inderpendenc

Ridwan Oct 13, 2015 11:15am

Shiv Sena has no idea how negatively they cast India in the world's media. India had a carefully crafted image that made it seem like it was a bastion of tolerance. Since Modi has come in to office, outlets around the world have been picking up on more and more stories of intolerance, and this just adds to the case. Maybe papers are looking for bad incidents just to sell newspapers, but whatever their motivation, they are showing the world a completely different side of India than Indians wish to portray. World knows that these extremists are also the allies of Modi.

Lala Oct 13, 2015 11:24am

@Angry Pitbull ; great way to justify bad behavior!

Amin Ansari Oct 13, 2015 11:28am

Mr. Sudheendra Kulkarniyou are a brave man and a man of principles. I salute you.

Vishal Oct 13, 2015 11:31am

Whether its India/Pak/Bangla its same DNA just different religion.Rogue people are there in all these countries.Question is Who is managing them better?India certainly needs to improve a lot but i feel they are lot better than their other two counter parts

jakoji Oct 13, 2015 11:48am

Peaceful protest is alright.. Frankly speaking, we are not interested in Pak policy books.. Fiction is fine..

ALI RAZA Oct 13, 2015 11:49am

Wow the largest democratic nation!!!!!!! Well done team India.

Raghu Oct 13, 2015 11:49am

Its funny Pakistan talks about intolerance.

Mr Universe Oct 13, 2015 11:50am

It seems to be stage manged. Kulkarni came on media other day during Ghulam Ali's controversy and challenged Shiv Sena to disrupt the book launch. Prior to that no one even knew about Kasuri demonstrate their power in Mumbai. Let's see how much business finally Kulkarni, Kasuri and Shiv Sena is able to garner from the sell of this book. I am for sure not going to buy it.

Ravishankar Oct 13, 2015 11:55am

Little ink on the face is by no means violence, I would agree with Shiv Sena that it was peaceful protest. The guy was not beaten, not even roughed up.

This is no different that pie slammed in the face protest which happens in West and not considered violence. Actually it is considered "acceptable" form of political protest.

sandeep Oct 13, 2015 11:57am

redaing some comments of fellowmen across the borders i would like to submit that India is a true democracy. The hundreds/thousands of elections held so far are testament to this. Some people are probably confusing crime and corruption with the concept of democracy

HS Oct 13, 2015 12:03pm

One organisations actions does not represent entire country. I expect people to look that there are way more people in india who opposes such moves and condemn those who do such unlawful events.

Khan,Canada Oct 13, 2015 12:10pm

Good lesson learned...Why Mr. Kasuri has to go to India to launch his book. Why not launch in London or UAE???

original realist Oct 13, 2015 12:18pm

The discussion in this forum is misdirected. Please appreciate that it was Indian government which issued visa to Mr. Kasuri in spite of possibility of a few controversial references in his book to past stance of Indian representatives. Subsequently, the Maharashtra BJP government discharged its responsibility of providing security for the event, in spite of its survival being dependent on Shiv Sena support. How is this at cross-purpose to India's bid for UNSC seat? Nor has it anything to do with secularism (is Shiv Sena opposing book release because author is Muslim?)

Troll Oct 13, 2015 12:18pm

Kausri should not have gone to India to degrade himself for few dollars. The same applies to Pakistani athletes and artists. Indians and Pakistanis are very different when it comes to hospitality

Zubair Oct 13, 2015 12:19pm

Kasuri has gone a way forward to launch his book .

Sarwar Oct 13, 2015 12:20pm

@Khan,Canada Why not launch in Pakistan ?? Are there no readers ?

mimi sur Oct 13, 2015 12:28pm

Indian public won't stand up against these things till Pakistani elements are attached to it.

Pakistani Oct 13, 2015 12:30pm

Why blame Shiv Sena? Kasuri should not have gone to India in first place!

asgher Oct 13, 2015 12:31pm

why not arresting the leader of shiv sena who ordered the assault? why only activists? this is a mere hollow action to diminish the embarrassment india has faced globally.

Kulkarni should also file a case against them.

T. M. Wazir Oct 13, 2015 12:33pm

@jakoji ... I don't think you represent the entire indian people. Speak for yourself and you don't have to buy the book either.

Hitesh Oct 13, 2015 01:15pm

Whatever Shivsena did was wrong and those behind this incident should be punished. Pakistan should take a note of this incident and should prevent Pakistani authors, artists, sports-persons from traveling to India

hamza Oct 13, 2015 01:19pm

the painted face glistening in camera lights

ROHIT PANDEY Oct 13, 2015 01:26pm

The gentleman's book got a great boost. Free advertisement.

Anyways, it was not something to be welcomed.But, then that has been the Shiv Sena politics for decades. Find a culprit and fix faults on him.

k k tiwari India Oct 13, 2015 01:41pm

Only few fanatics on both sides do not want cultural & sports events.I badly miss Ghulam Ali saheb concert . He is in our hearts like Mehndi Hasan marhum. Shiv Sena must have lost many supporters , I am for sure

Raj Oct 13, 2015 01:43pm

While criticism of Shiv Sena's action is certainly expected and is logical too, but over the top criticism of India as a nation based on this event is certainly unwarranted.

Certainly not from a country where people are often murdered for differences in opinion. After all most of us would have been happy if Sabeen Mehmud had ink spilt on her rather than being riddled with bullets for organising an event. Salmaan Taseer is another poignant reminder. With all its ills and imbalances, democracy in India ensures a much better and tolerant political environment. Though needless to say we still have a long way to go.

Harmony-1 Oct 13, 2015 02:01pm

@Raghu - and you say this as though yours is a perfect example of 'tolerance'?

chinto Oct 13, 2015 02:15pm

The painted black face of kulkarni shows the reality of so called world's largest democracy.

Satt Oct 13, 2015 02:23pm

This undisciplined organizers are responsible but Indian authorities should make sure that these Pakistani guests should not do any anti national activities in India.Kasuri's book was already launched in Delhi so why relaunching in Mumbai.Mumbai people have no soft corner for Pakistani's,they gets angry when somebody develops soft corner for Pakistani people.

Sane Oct 13, 2015 02:35pm

Why Kasuri wanted to launch it in India...?

Najma Hisham Oct 13, 2015 02:44pm

disgraceful act. Mr Kasuri Saab should have launched his book in East Punjab which is a much safer place for fellow Punjabis from all this extremists and fanatics.

Arun Oct 13, 2015 02:54pm

Pakistan and Pakistani are our own. If situation arises in India, I would die for securing life of a Pakistani. I do not know who is Shiv Sena or this-that. The only thing that I know is I love Pakistan and Pakistani.

Zubaida khan Oct 13, 2015 03:26pm

Ink is a chemical. This was a chemical attack, it could very well have been acid. And it is no a non-violent attack.

This was an act of terrorism. Why did the perpetrators get bail?

Zubaida khan Oct 13, 2015 03:29pm

@Sri China is a founding memeber and the only Asian country to have permanent status. Several million of its people were killed by Japanese in the second world war.

noor Oct 13, 2015 03:36pm

@Ali rest is assured, 1st kashmir resolved than books ok

A. Ali Oct 13, 2015 03:43pm

eye wash act... they will sooner be out on bail or will make exit from back door.

koshur migrant Oct 13, 2015 04:21pm

Nobody choses Kolkata, chennai, Bengaluru for such book lauches or artistic activities. Why Mumbai or Ahmedabad depite knowing the stance of Shiv sena. Are these pin pricks.

BRIJ Oct 13, 2015 04:22pm

@Ali Such attacks take place even in those countries which are presently enjoying Veto powers. They donot represent the majority view in India.

Kumar Mondol Oct 13, 2015 05:15pm

@Zubaida khan
China is not the founding member, it was Taiwan. China became permanent member by the generosity of the United States in 70s. By the way, India was offered this permanent membership in late 40s or early 50s, but our esteemed prime minister Nehru declined it and recommended China instead of. What a fool he was!

schal Oct 13, 2015 05:44pm

@Lala No justification. In a democracy, bad behavior will be punished sooner or later whether it comes from the people or their government.

Ali Ahmed Bandesha Oct 13, 2015 05:55pm

Really they think this is a non violent protest?? Shameful act

East Indian Oct 13, 2015 06:08pm

@Pakistani But then the book is written about india. The book can be marketed in two coutries most ... One is pakistan and the other is , where one fifth of human race are waiting to buy the book. Come on , have some business in mind, enough of war talks

AHA Oct 13, 2015 06:14pm

Extremism will (also) ruin India.

kk Oct 13, 2015 06:18pm

dear shivsena plz pakistan...literacy rat are very low (in asia)... even people are not interested to read school text book....than how can mr. kasuri launch their book in this kind of pakistani authors need bigger market i.e Indian markets.

vijay Oct 13, 2015 06:19pm

In Kasuri saga somebody is lying. Indians and Pakistanis cannot trust each other and will never be friends.

Haider Ali Oct 13, 2015 07:01pm

Its real shame on the face of democratic India.

buckheit Oct 13, 2015 07:04pm

This is a disgrace to the Indian nation. Any group that suppresses free thinking ultimately wants the destruction of free society and democracy. But terrorists like Hafiz and Lakhvi responsible for orchestrating the Mumbai massacre are still roaming free in Pakistan - and this only adds fuel to the fire of anti-Pakistan propaganda within India that attempts to thwart all people-to-people contacts.

Gautham Oct 13, 2015 07:14pm

@Zubaida khan : What is the point you are making? So if Japan as an imperial power had occupied China in early 20th century, China can run tanks on its citizens in late 21st century? It's amazing how Pakistanis take up on themselves the task of defending China! CPEC is already doing wonders!!

altaf Oct 13, 2015 07:18pm

i wonder why indian support there terrorists shiv shena etc it should be ban.

Alla Bux Oct 13, 2015 07:22pm

I am suspecting that this whole thing is staged by Mr Kulkarni. Looking at the video of this incident Mr Kulkarni was pretty cool, no panic.

Alla Bux Oct 13, 2015 07:28pm

@Zubaida khan You can not decide what is terrorism and what is not. They follow their law. It is just ink. Could have been, would have been or should have been won't affect what law applies. It was probably considered a minor assault without causing serious injury and it was bailable offence, obviously cognizable (it does not appear Mr Kulkarni filed any report with the police) and so police arrested them and judge gave them bail. Most probably they will be fined and let off. Mr Kulkarni may have a civil action against them, though..

Kaka Oct 13, 2015 07:32pm

Shining India with narrow-mindedness - a true face of Indian community

Alla Bux Oct 13, 2015 07:36pm

@Kaka And then they raised 1.3 million Indian rupees to treat a girl from our county. Go figure!

Imtiaz Oct 13, 2015 07:46pm

Why this book could not be launched in Pakistan? One greedy Indian got the treatment he deserved?

A z khan Oct 13, 2015 07:56pm

The word peace is vanishing from the dictionary of the world ,it is becoming jungle world ,even animals thinking we are better off.

AAA Oct 13, 2015 08:02pm

@kk ; You poor little sick thing. Is this your come back to justify the bad behavior of hate mongers in India? I am sure you could have come back with something better. BTW, You should consider changing your screen name from KK to pseudo intellectual!

Reality Bites Oct 13, 2015 08:14pm

Sadly, no religion exists without extremists. India is not going to be left behind either.

ANT Oct 13, 2015 08:17pm

The Thackray clan needs to be locked up outside the state. A couple of weeks of involuntary sodomy in jail will fix their fascism.

Abhai Oct 13, 2015 08:25pm

I see comments as if there is no intolerance in Pakistan !! come on guys let's be realistic. Had it been Pakistan, may be the guy would have been dead !

Jawwad Oct 13, 2015 08:35pm

Sudheendra Kulkarni is one courageous man and as a Pakistani I salute to him. We need men and women like that on both sides of the border.

Sasa Oct 13, 2015 09:06pm

Hatemonger Shiv Sena is a regional party who hates everybody except Hindu from Maharashtra. They do not believe freedom of speech.

break_pakistan Oct 13, 2015 09:07pm

@altaf JUM and LET should also be banned.

Mohammad Khan USA Oct 13, 2015 09:19pm

Mr Kasuri should thank Shiv Seniks for popularizing his book soon this book will be a best seller

Zak Oct 13, 2015 09:28pm

India is a lawless country, with extremists everywhere.

Ostrich Oct 13, 2015 10:45pm

@ANT Same treatments are essential for Hafiz Sayed, and all such elements across the border.

mullah paxton Oct 14, 2015 01:42am

The arrests are a sign of India's rule of law--however unwieldy it is!

mullah paxton Oct 14, 2015 01:45am

@Ali : USA, UK, Russia and China are no better --than India! Pakistan exercises its unofficial Islamic veto in the UN!

mullah paxton Oct 14, 2015 01:46am

@ALI RAZA : As usual, 19 Pakistanis salute you!

Sailani Oct 14, 2015 05:45am

@Troll Kasuri did not go to Indian to degrade himself, it is your thoughts that degrade him. I hope it opens up minds in both countries that we have to be tolerant of each other and the right for freedom of speech, whether he/she is Indian or Pakistani.

Shajiya Oct 14, 2015 10:52am

Why do our people do book launch in India???

Mastiff Oct 15, 2015 02:13am

I really want to see what Shiv Sena folks look like ....just see not get any close to them.

Adil Jadoon Oct 15, 2015 05:32am

@Angry Pitbull doubt it

Brar Oct 15, 2015 06:21am

@Ali Shiv Sena is not India as Talibans are not Pakistan, as regards veto power Pakistan can also aspire for the same we have no problem .

ZQ Oct 15, 2015 07:18am

@Mr Universe don't buy.. No one I'd forcing you!!