Mumbai, Oct 12: Unfazed by the Shiv Sena protest and blackening of the face of Sudheendra Kulkarni, the organisers went ahead with the launch of former Pakistan Foreign Minister Ahmed Kasuri's book 'Neither a Hawk, Nor a Dove' at a function here.
The event was held amidst tight security for the visiting dignitary in the wake of Shiv Sena' threat to disrupt the function despite appeals to it to give up its protest.
Kasuri himself echoed the sentiments after the morning's event outside the house of Kulkarni, Chairman of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), the think-tank and organiser of the book launch show, had left a bad taste when Shiv Sena activists smeared black paint on his face.
"I would like to thank Chief Minister Mr Devendra Fadnavis for providing excellent protection (provided to him) ever since I landed in Mumbai airport (last evening)," he said at the book launch. Taking a jibe at Shiv Sena, Kulkarni welcomed the former Pakistan Minister to the megapolis of Mumbai in Marathi.
"I also express my deepest gratitude to all of you who have come to attend the function notwithstanding the extra ordinary circumstances in which it is being held.
"This shows your resolve, our resolve and common resolve, the resolve of millions of Mumbaikars to defend the values of tolerance and diversity," Kulkarni said while making opening remarks at the event held at Nehru Centre in Mumbai. It was attended among others by noted lawyer and historian A G Noorani, journalist Dileep Padgaonkar and film actor Naseeruddin Shah, who were panelists at the launch.
Without naming Shiv Sena, Kulkarni evoked President Pranab Mukherjee's recent remarks that "tolerance and diversity and core values of Indian civilisation and these must be defended", he said adding "we shall defend them".