The Show Must Go On:

Shiv Sena members threw black ink at Sudheendra Kulkarni, chairman of the Observor Research Foundation which is hosting the book launch of former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri in Mumbai.

Speaking to the media, Kulkarni said that under no circumstances will the book launch be called off. He added that he did not seek protection for himself. In a press conference, he thanked Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri for coming to Mumbai, despite the cancellation of the Ghulam Ali concert last week.

We are not frightened by these acts of the Shiv Shena. Cancelling this programme would be a sign of defeat. They called me Rashtradrohi, and all sorts of other abuses that a good Hindu would never use. However, we believe in dialogue. We will continue to do our bit to further Indo-Pakistan interactions.
— Sudheendra Kulkarni, Chairman, Observor Research Foundation

(Photo: ANI)
(Photo: ANI)

Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, said that the book launch would proceed as planned, but he wouldn’t allow any anti-India statements to be made. Kulkarni, on his part, thanked Fadnavis for taking a bold stand against the Sena.

Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri has said that the incident was unfortunate and that he has come to India only to spread the message of peace and love. He has said that there must be more interaction between India and Pakistan. In an extended statement during the press conference, he said that the intelligence of the people of both nations must not be underestimated.

I will be extremely disappointed if the event is cancelled. Why have I come to Mumbai? This is the city where my father did his law degree. Through it’s film industry, it has allowed for better understanding between countries in South Asia. I have many reasons to to be here. I recognise the right to protest, as long as it is done in a peaceful manner.

India has not been an issue in the last three general elections in Pakistan. Do not underestimate the common sense of the people of Pakistan and India. It is for possible for misunderstandings between the two nations to be overcome, but only through positive leadership.
— Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri

Sanjay Raut of the Shiv Sena has justified the attack on Kullkarni and has warned that this was just a ‘soft attack.’ The party has also said that the ink on Kulkarni’s face represented the “blood of martyred soldiers” and that they are “proud” of the party workers who carried out the attack.

The Observer Research Foundation said earlier today that despite the Shiv Sena’s threats to disrupt the three-day visit of Kasuri in Mumbai, his book launch will take place as scheduled today.

The Shiv Sena on Sunday reiterated that it will disrupt the launch of Kasuri’s book Neither a Hawk, Nor a Dove: An Insider’s Account of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy, slated to be held at the Nehru Centre at Worli.

A former member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Kulkarni joined the BJP in 1996.

Kulkarni helped former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee with his speeches and later took on the role of political strategist for Lal Krishna Advani.