Alleged Shiv Sainiks smear ink on Kasuri book-launch organiser

Mumbai, Oct 12 (IANS) Barely hours before the launch of a book by former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, the main organiser and former journalist Sudheendra Kulkarni alleged he was abused and attacked with ink by suspected Shiv Sainiks here on Monday.

The incident happened when Kulkarni was leaving his home in Sion, southcentral Mumbai, when a group of around a dozen alleged Sena activists accosted him.

They shouted slogans and asked him to cancel the event scheduled later Monday afternoon and then allegedly smeared him with black ink.

An ally in the state’s ruling coalition and at the centre, the Shiv Sena has strongly opposed the function to launch Kasuri’s book “Neither a Hawk Nor a Dove: An Insider Account of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy”.

The party has warned that it would not allow the event, while Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has assured full support and security to the function organised by the Observer Research Foundation think tank.

Last week, the Shiv Sena threatened the staging of two concerts by renowned Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali that were subsequently cancelled in Mumbai and Pune.

“The Shiv Sena has no authority to impose such a ban… We have taken a principled stand and shall not cancel the event,” Kulkarni told mediapersons.

Kasuri has already arrived in Mumbai and Kulkarni has requested Fadnavis to ensure adequate security for him.

Last night, Kulkarni met Sena President Uddhav Thackeray but failed to get any assurance on holding the function peacefully.

On Monday, Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut, said: “It is difficult to predict where people’s anger against Pakistan would erupt.”

Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Shaina NC said the incident would be probed and those responsible for it would be booked.

Meanwhile, a tight security blanket envelops the venue, Nehru Centre in Worli, since Sunday evening to ward off any untoward incidents.

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