Mumbai, Oct 12: Well-known columnist and socio-political-activist Sudheendra Kulkarni's face was smeared by black paint by some Shiv Sena workers on Monday, Oct 12 morning.
The attack came in the backdrop of Kulkarni's refusal to cancel an event of a book launch of former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri in Mumbai today over Shiv Sena's demand.
While interacting with media-persons, Kulkarni alleged that around eight to ten Shiv Sena workers abused him and threw black paint at his face outside his residence.
"The Shiv Sena has absolutely no power to impose such a ban. We will not cancel the book launch. We have taken a principled stand", Kulkarni was quoted as saying.
"We won't be cowed down by such events and the book launch will happen as planned," the organiser said.
Shiv Sena has been adamant in not allowing the event citing Pakistan's support to terrorism.
Reacting to the paint attack on Kulkarni, senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said "smearing paint is a very mild form of democratic protest." "We don't know if ink or tar was smeared. Nobody can foretell how public anger will explode," Raut said.
Maharashtra's Home department, headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, had, however, assured the organiser of full security.
Kulkarni had met Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at the latter's residence 'Matoshree' late last night, but left without getting any assurance from him. He had earlier also said that the event will go on as planned as they have been assured full security by police.
"I pointed out to Uddhavji that Kasuri should be allowed to put forth his views. I also told him that if Sena has a different view point, they could protest in a democratic, peaceful manner," Kulkarni earlier told a news agency.
"The Sena president told me that unlike Ghulam Ali, Kasuri was not an artist but was part of the machinery which perpetrated terror," he said.
"I told Uddhavji that as they (Sena) have a right to protest peacefully, we also have the right to hold the programme," he said.
"I informed him that Kasuri was Pakistan foreign minister during 2002-07 and was not a minister when the 2008 Mumbai terror attack happened," he said.
"It was brought to the Sena leader's attention that Kasuri in his book has criticised non-state actors perpetrating terror," said Kulkarni, who has served as speechwriter for BJP veterans Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani.
The Sena, which shares power with the BJP in Maharashtra, has written to the director of Worli's Nehru Centre, the launch venue, to cancel the event because of the Pakistan connection.
Meanwhile, Kasuri has already landed in Mumbai to launch his book, "Neither a Hawk, Nor a Dove: An Insider Account of Pakistan's Foreign Policy".
Who is Sudheendra Kulkarni?
Kulkarni works for a foreign policy at think-tank, the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), that will be organising the event of Kasuri's book launch. [Top Advani aide Sudheendra Kulkarni quits BJP]
An alumni of IIT Bombay, Kulkarni had joined the BJP in 1996 and he parted ways with the saffron party in 2009. Before that, he was associoated with CPI (M).
In 2008, he was embroiled in a cash-for-vote scandal sting operation controversy. [Cash-for-votes: NO bail for Advani's aide Kulkarni, BJP MPs]
Kulkarni is the author of 'MUSIC OF THE SPINNING WHEEL: Mahatma Gandhi's Manifesto for the Internet Age'.
Kasuri Book Launch must be held and all Liberals who are against such Talibani Hooliganism must come out to support the Book Launch.
Kasuri Book Launch must be held and all Liberals who are against such Talibani Hooliganism must come out to support the Book Launch.— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) October 12, 2015
Such Intolerance in India can't be tolerated. First Ghulam Ali concert and now Kasuri's book launch. We don't want a Desi Taliban in India
Such Intolerance in India can't be tolerated. First Ghulam Ali concert and now Kasuri's book launch. We don't want a Desi Taliban in India— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) October 12, 2015
Strongly condemn most dastardly attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni by Shiv Sainiks Udhav Thakre must control his goons Full support to Sudheendra
Strongly condemn most dastardly attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni by Shiv Sainiks Udhav Thakre must control his goons Full support to Sudheendra— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) October 12, 2015