Unfazed by Sena threat, Kasuri’s book launched in Mumbai

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Sudheendra Kulkarni and Ex Pak Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri 

Mumbai: Unfazed by paint attack, former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri’s book was launched in Mumbai on Monday hours after columnist Sudheendra Kulkarni, who organized the event, was attacked with black paint by Shiv Sena activists protesting the event.

Speaking on the occasion, Kulkarni said, “It is our duty to undo the mistakes of the past. We should not let any organisation mar the values of Mumbai.”

Calling for the need to normalise the bilateral ties, the former BJP ideologue said, “Mumbai stands for India-Pak dialogue for peace, this function in the face of threats is vouching for that.” Things are changing in Pakistan, people there too want peace, he said.

Commenting on Mumbai’s never-say-die spirit, Kulkarni said, “We shall defend and safeguard the values that Mumbai has stood for; we will not let any organisation trample those values.”

Its on record that Jinnah after creation of Pakistan said that he was so attached with Bombay that he wanted to come back, Kulkarni added while speaking at the function attended by Kasuri.

New history can only be created via dialogue, two governments must continue dialogue. Our function is in that direction, Kulkarni told reporters here.

The former aide of BJP veteran LK Advani also praised Kasuri, saying he is a Pakistani yet 10 years ago he told him that his entire family is a family of Indian patriots.

His father was arrested in the Quit India Movement, they were all Congress supporters, Kulkarni said.

Replying to Shiv Sena’s protest to the event, Kulkarni said, “ We went to meet Uddhav Thackeray yesterday to make him understand why we are having this event.”

“The purpose of writing this book is to correct some misconceptions,” Kausri said while speaking on his turn.

“PM Modi made a promise of development, but we have to have peace. I hope the PM realises that (former PM) AB Vajpayee’s route was the right one,” Kausri was quoted by ANI as saying.

Hours before the launch of Kasuri’s book, main organiser Sudheendra Kulkarni was attacked and his face blackened by Shiv Sena activists. The incident was widely condemned but the party said it would continue its protests against the visiting Pakistani leader.

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

They shouted slogans and asked him to cancel the event scheduled later Monday and then 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”.

Here are 10 developments in the story:

1.Mr Kasuri’s book “Neither a Hawk, Nor a Dove: An Insider Account of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy” was launched in the presence of a heavy security contingent.

2.In the morning, over a dozen Shiv Sena activists threw black paint at Mr Kulkarni, who had refused to cancel the event. Mr Kulkarni was forced to go to a hospital to get the paint off.

3.The Shiv Sena, which co-governs Maharashtra with the BJP, says there should be no engagement with Pakistan as long as it supports terror attacks on Indian soil. Last week, the party forced the cancellation of legendary Pakistani Ghazal singer Ghulam Ali’s concert in Mumbai.

4.”The partition that happened is not what our freedom fighters dreamt… we have to undo the mistakes of past,” Mr Kulkarni said at the launch.

5.Mr Kasuri, who had arrived for the launch escorted by 10 cars and a busload of policemen, said: “PM (Narendra) Modi made a promise of development but we need peace. I hope the PM realizes that Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s route was the right one.”

6.Despite being hit by waves of condemnation over the paint attack, the Sena did not call off its protest but did appear to tone it down.

7.The paint attack was “non-violent, democratic and historic,” said the party’s young leader Aditya Thackeray. “Ink spilt may be more violent for you than its intent to protest against all the innocent blood spilt on the streets of Mumbai, Jammu and Kashmir, every city that has faced Pakistan-sponsored terrorism,” he added.

8.Facing criticism for not reining in his ally, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis spoke to Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.

9.The party also scoffed at BJP veteran LK Advani’s condemnation of the attack. “If you don’t like someone or his opinion, showing intolerance is wrong,” Mr Advani had said. The Sena retorted: “It is not his age to get into all this.”  

10.Before Chief Minister Fadnavis ran interference with the Sena, he told reporters that it was his government’s duty to protect foreigners or dignitaries but added: “No anti-India propaganda will be tolerated through any such program, if found so, the organisers would be held responsible.”

 

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