Shiv Sena protests Pakistan delegation’s visit in Mumbai

Mumbai, June 28 (IANS) Shiv Sena activists on Tuesday attempted to disrupt a function at the Mumbai Press Club here, where a delegation of Pakistani press photographers was present.

The protesters also raised anti-Pakistan slogans during the address by the event organisers. At least two Shiv Sena activists were whisked away and later detained by the Azad Maidan police.

Police presence at the venue ensured no serious ruckus was created by the Shiv Sainiks, as there were also attempts to pelt stones at the car of Observer Research Foundation Chairman Sudheendra Kulkarni.

Kulkarni was scheduled to address a press conference to introduce the visiting Pakistani photojournalists.

The Shiv Sena activists raised slogans to protest Kulkarni’s decision to invite the photojournalists from the neighbouring country and against Pakistan for sponsoring cross-border terror.

In October last year, Shiv Sena activists had blackened the face of Sudheendra Kulkarni, a former BJP leader and aide to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, ahead of the launch of a book written by former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri.

The Pakistan delegation arrived here as part of an ORF project ‘Tasveer-e-Karachi’ and ‘Tasveer-e-Mumbai’ under which five photographers each from both countries will exchange visits as “messengers of peace”, Kulkarni said.

The Pakistani delegation comprises Malika Abbas of Dawn; Farah Mahbub, a fine art photographer and educator; Amean J., a fashion photographer; Mobeen Ansari, a photojournalist and storyteller; and documentary photographer Malcolm Hutcheson.

The Pakistani photojournalists arrived in Mumbai on June 20 for a 10-day trip, while the Indian photojournalists will visit Karachi in early July.

The Indian delegation will include Chirodeep Chauduri of Nat Geo India, Indranil Mukherjee of AFP, Prashant Nakwe of The Hindu, S.L. Shanth Kumar of The Times of India, and documentary photographer Harkiran S. Bhasin.

“They threatened us and said we must not permit any Pakistani to enter Mumbai. We are not scared. Despite their threats, we released Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri’s book in Mumbai last October. We shall continue doing so again and again,” Kulkarni said.

The ORF chief said Mumbai was not the sole preserve of those who claim to be “protectors of national interest” and even “we are patriots, are opposed to terror and religious extremism”.

“However, we shall not bow before such extremists who try to stop us from promoting India-Pakistan friendship,” the ORF chief declared, adding that all Pakistanis are not terrorists and a big section there is a victim of terror and condemns terrorism.

Referring to the new ORF project, he said it would be “photography for peace” between the two neighbours.

“Terrorists shoot with guns, photographers shoot with cameras. The Shiv Sena should realise the difference since its president Uddhav Thackeray himself is an acclaimed photographer. He should actually laud his own fraternity,” Kulkarni pointed out.

In a retort, Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande asked Kulkarni to visit the border areas and tell extremists to stop their terror acts.

“While Pakistan is openly sponsoring terror attacks and killing our soldiers on the borders, he (Kulkarni) is inviting them here,” Kayande told the media here.



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