Mumbai: Pakistan’s former foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri on Monday condemned the attack on Observer Research Foundation chief Sudheendra Kulkarni, allegedly by Shiv Sena activists, earlier in the day ostensibly to protest against the launch of a book written by the visiting dignitary.
“I feel saddened and unhappy by this attack on Kulkarni whom I have known for many years… I condemn it… the right to protest must be peaceful and these people must change their tactics of protest,” Kasuri said at a hurriedly convened press conference here following the incident.
“I have come with a message of peace… An overwhelming majority of people in both countries want peace between the two countries… But, there are some who don’t want India-Pakistan peace,” Kasuri said.
Urging the protestors not to underestimate the common sense of the people of both the countries, the Pakistani former minister pointed out that strengthening of relations between the two neighbours would benefit both.
Kasuri also recounted how the peace process between the two nations had progressed well in the past decade during the tenures of former prime ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh.
Earlier, Kulkarni categorically named the Shiv Sena, saying the party had “asked the Nehru Centre to cancel the event, failing which they would disrupt the function in the Shiv Sena style”.
“The Shiv Sena has no authority to impose such a ban… We have taken a principled stand and shall not cancel the event,” Kulkarni told media persons.
The Sion police have registered a case into the incident against unidentified people and were investigating the matter.
The incident has been strongly condemned by the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Bharatiya Janata Party and other media groups and individuals, besides evoking outrage on the social media.
The incident happened when Kulkarni was leaving his home in Sion, south central Mumbai, when a group of around a dozen alleged Sena activists accosted him.
They shouted slogans and asked him to cancel the event scheduled for later during Monday afternoon and then allegedly smeared him with black ink.
Meanwhile, a tight security blanket shrouded the venue, Nehru Centre in Worli, since Sunday evening to ward off any untoward incident.