Sudheendra Kulkarni
Sudheendra KulkarniTwitter/ANI

The chairman of India-based think tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Sudheendra Kulkarni, has alleged that the workers of Shiv Sena called him deshdrohi and threw ink at him to protest the launch of former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri's book on Monday.

"Shiv Sainiks raised slogans against me as I stepped out of my car, they called me a 'Deshdrohi' and threw ink at me," Kulkarni, a former close aide of BJP veteran LK Advani, told ANI.

"They said, we asked you to cancel today's event, you didn't, so you'll have to pay for it; then they threw ink at me," he added.

Kulkarni said he will still go ahead with the book launch scheduled later in the day.

"The Shiv Sena has absolutely no power to impose such a ban. We will not cancel the book launch. We have taken a principled stand," Kulkarni told NDTV.

Shiv Sena, which is an ally of the BJP both in Maharashtra and at the Centre, has apparently admitted to Kulkarni's allegations as party leader Sanjay Raut called the incident a "very mid reaction".

"Agar muh par syaahi lagi hai to unko itna gussa aya hai, ye syaahi nhi humare jawaano ka khoon aapke muh par laga hai... Agar unka kehna hai ki ye kaam Shiv Sainikon ne kia hai to kia hai,jo angaar hai unke dil mein,ye unki swabhaavik pratikriya hai," Raut told ANI.

Kulkarni had on Sunday requested Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray not to oppose the launch, but he did not receive any assurance.

"I have requested Uddhav Thackeray that Shiv Sena should not oppose the book launch event. I also told him that the event will proceed despite Sena's threat," Kulkarni had told PTI.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has assured protection at the site of book launch scheduled at 5.30 pm in Worli area. "It's our Govt's responsibility to provide security to all foreigners, diplomats or dignitaries who are allowed on proper Visa," Fadnavis told ANI.

"Mr.Kasuri and the program will be provided total security. But this doesn't mean that we endorse all views expressed in the program. No anti India propaganda will be tolerated through any such program,if found so the organisers would be held responsible," he added.

Former Pakistan minister Kasuri is also determined to go ahead with the launch of his book "Neither a Hawk nor a Dove: An Insider's Account of Pakistan's Foreign Policy".

"Have come all the way not to sit in the hotel," he told NDTV.

Earlier this month, Shiv Sena had protested against Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali's concert organised in the memory of Indian ghazal singer Jagjit Singh, forcing the organisers to cancel the event.

Also read