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Shiv Sainiks blacken Kulkarni’s face

MUMBAI: Shiv Sena activists on Monday blackened the face of ORF chief Sudheendra Kulkarni over his refusal to cancel the book launch function of former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri.

However, undeterred by the violent protest, which Shiv Sena called “very mild”, the organisers, including the Observer Research Foundation, went ahead with the programme amid tight security following threats of disruption by the pro-Hindutva party.

“Shiv Sena activists threw ink at me and smeared my face. They abused me,” Kulkarni said.
Former BJP ideologue Sudheendra Kulkarni, with blackened and former Pakistan Minister KM Kasuri
A defiant Kulkarni, however, said he will not be “cowed down” by such actions and go ahead with the evening launch of the book ‘Neither a Hawk nor a Dove: An Insider’s Account of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy’. “This shows your resolve, our resolve and common resolve, the resolve of millions of Mumbaikars to defend the values of tolerance and diversity,” Kulkarni said in his opening remarks at the event held in the evening at Nehru Centre in Mumbai.

Growing intolerance in the country, says Advani: The paint attack on BJP’s former strategist Sudheendra Kulkarni was roundly condemned by political parties with its stalwart L.K. Advani saying it reflected “growing intolerance” in the country that is cause for concern and Congress dubbing Shiv Sena as “Desi Taliban.”

“I strongly condemn whosoever has done it.... In the last few days, there are these signs...where any person or any point of view is not acceptable, then you resort to violence or turn intolerant towards them. “This is a matter of concern for the nation. Democracy must ensure tolerance for a different point of view,” Advani said.

In a veiled message to Shiv Sena, a key ally of BJP, the former deputy prime minister said, “at least those who are involved with us should work to strengthen democracy and not encourage such acts of violence and disown them.”

In a series of tweets, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh said Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray must control his “goons.” “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,” he said.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi claimed incidents of “intolerance” have risen over the last 18 months after the BJP came to power.

Union Minister M.A. Naqvi said in a democracy everyone has a right to agree or disagree but this type of protest is not justified. Union MoS Kiren Rijiju said everyone has the freedom to protest but not physically harm anyone.

CPI (M) targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the incident, saying the top BJP leader’s ‘Make in India’ initiative is nothing but ‘Breaking India’ campaign. “Modi model is not #MakeInIndia but breaking in India & pillars r competitive communalism, intolerance & misogyny and Casteism,” tweeted CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat.

Mumbai police have arrested six Shiv Sena workers in connection with the incident. 

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