In another instance of hooliganism that will add to the tension after rising incidents of intolerance across India, BJP member and the chairman of foreign policy think tank Observer and Research Foundation, Sudheendra Kulkarni, was on Monday attacked by suspected members of the Shiv Sena who smeared black ink on his face, according to reports.
The ORF is organising the launch of the book of former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri. The ulra-nationalist Shiv Sena has been ptotesting any cultural association with Pakistan which it accuses of supporting terrorists and waging a war on Indian soil through repeated attacks.
Kulkarni told CNN-IBN that the book launch will go ahead as planned despite the incident.
Kulkarni, a BJP member who has served as the speechwriter for BJP veterans Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani, even met Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray at the latter's residence, Matoshree, late last night, PTI reported. It is understood that the meeting was unproductive and Kulkarni left Matoshree without getting any assurance from the Sena leader whose party had threatened to disrupt the event.
The Sena had also forced the cancellation of Pakistan ghazal singer Ghulam Ali's concert in Mumbai and Pune recently.
"Paint on Kulkarni's face symbolizes blood of our Soldiers, proud of party workers who did this," the Sena told news channels.
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 show because of the Pakistan connection. Maharashtra's home department, headed by BJP chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, has assured the organisers of full security cover.
Kasuri is scheduled to attend the launch of his book 'Neither a Hawk nor a Dove: An Insider's Account of Pakistan's Foreign Policy' at 5:30 PM in Worli area. (With inputs from PTI)