The Shiv Sena has not withdrawn its protest against the launch of a book written by former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, party leader Sanjay Raut said on Monday.
“....a message is going around that we have withdrawn our protest…this is a blatant lie,” Raut said at a press conference in Mumbai after reports that the party had called off its stir in the face of criticism.
Earlier in the day, alleged Sena supporters threw black ink on the face of Sudheendra Kulkarni, an organiser of the event, ahead of Kasuri’s book launch in Mumbai, drawing condemnation.
The Sena has threatened to disrupt the launch of Kasuri’s book “Neither a Hawk nor a Dove: An Insider’s Account of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy” scheduled for Monday evening.
The threat came days after a warning from the Shiv Sena led to the cancellation of concerts in Mumbai and Pune by acclaimed Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali.
Kulkarni, his face covered in black ink, however, later announced at a press conference that he would go ahead with the launch of the book.
Justifying the ink attack, Sena leader Raut called it part of a non-violent protest.
“It wasn’t an attack, it was a non-violent protest,” he said, adding the Sena’s stand against Pakistan has been the same in the last 20-25 years and hasn’t changed.
Asked if the Shiv Sena will allow the launch to take place, Raut asked media to wait and watch.
He also said the Sena has sent a letter to Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis that has evidence of Kasuri’s acts against India.
Fadnavis, meanwhile, has promised complete security for the book launch event. “But this doesn’t mean that we endorse all views expressed in the programme. No anti-India propaganda will be tolerated through any such programme,” he said.