The 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 in Mumbai. In spite of the attack, Kulkarni has maintained that the function will go ahead as scheduled.
Speaking about the attack, Kulkarni said, "I was on my way to office today morning when some 10-15 workers belonging to Shiv Sena got me off my car and told me that, they had ordered me to not hold the programme, and then poured the paint over me."
He added, "Me and the Nehru Centre director had gone and met Uddhav Thackeray last night and explained it to him that our government and forces are capable enough to deal with Pakistan. But we shouldn't stop the dialogue. To this Uddhavji replied that he will think about it."
Sudheendra Kulkarni with his face smeared with ink
Kulkarni further added, "We are determined to hold the programme in the evening." Kulkarni was wearing an Indian flag, and even that got defaced during the act.
Kasuri's book, ‘Neither a Hawk nor a Dove: An Insider's Account of Pakistan's Foreign Policy’ will be launched at Nehru Centre at 5.30 pm. Shiv Sena had already issued a threat that it will stop the function at any cost.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena hasn't yet taken full responsibility of the attack. But Sena Spokesperson Sanjay Raut stated, "This is not paint, this is the blood of our soldiers. The government should act against such people. If he (Kulkarni) says Shiv Sainiks have done it, then ok they have done it. This is not a politics of self-interest, we are patriots and our anger is towards Pakistan. We hadn't ordered anyone to do this (ink throwing act). Kasuri won't be hurt while he is here."
“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.
Meanwhile, Ashok Chavan, state Congress President, condemned the attack and said, "You may disagree with someone on ideological points, but shouldn't manhandle anyone."
(With ANI inputs)