Mumbai: Taking forward its campaign against Pakistani personalities, 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, drawing strong condemnation from political parties.
Shiv Sainiks intercepted the car of Kulkarni, chairman of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), a foreign policy think tank, just outside his Matunga home and painted his face black.
Reacting on the issue, senior journalist wrote an open letter to Shiv Sena’s Aaditya Thackeray.
The senior journalist wrote: (Excerpts)
I must confess that much like the Sena is angry with the invite to Kasuri, I am angry with the Sena, although I am not surprised. After all, Kulkarni is not the first public figure you have attacked, he probably won't be the last... You have every right to feel strongly about Pak-based terror. You have every right to dislike Mr Kasuri. But if you don't like him or Pakistan, or his book, don't read it, boycott the function, wear a black band. Ditto with a Ghulam Ali. But what gives you or the Sena's goons the right to physically attack the organisers or force the government to call off a concert?
Replying to this, Aaditya wrote to Rajdeep on his Facebook profile: (Excerpts)
I must confess, that as you are angry with the Sena for being angry at Pakistan (of course we weren’t sacked from channels there and have no land or wealth to fight over, than stopping bloodshed in India and taking back Pakistan Occupied Kashmir to India), I am not angry with you...
Anger/ frustration occurs with when hopes are destroyed. May be that explains 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...
Lets not even compare the ink shed on a person who has openly lauded a naxal sympathiser and endorses a foreign minister having links with anti India separatists from the valley, to the blood shed in our country by terrorists...
Lets not forget every terrorist attack, the train blasts, the 26/11 attacks and many more in the Valley that we wake up to, every day and every month... Lets not forget the recent failed Ufa agreement and more so the two terrorists, caught alive in Jammu and Kashmir, confessing that they are from Pakistan.
So, I guess some things would never change, but sadly I see acts of terror and betrayal from Pakistan not changing, whilst you focus on being allowed to enjoy concerts, cricket and such events. And till the time such betrayals, by acts of terrorism in our country don’t change to acts of fulfilling promises that have been made to various Prime Ministers of India for the last few decades, is there really a need to engage with Pakistan in any other way than to make them ensure that all the terrorist camps harboured by their system are dismantled?
Could we have these concerts for peace and unity at the LOC or in areas where there is heavy mortar shelling? Or why not first open the eyes of the country that harbours terrorist camps? Why was a movie like Phantom that speaks of eliminating terror banned in Pakistan?
The point really being, we all accept that art, culture, cricket and literature are symbols of freedom and more so are carried by people who are innocent and away from politics of the two countries.
Why do we stand against it?
The question can be answered by more questions-
1) Who do these terrorists target and kill? Aren’t the ones killed in all these attacks innocent lives too? The ones killed may belong to India or any other nationality, but aren’t they innocent?
2) If we support freedom, why does our Independence Day celebration for so many decades have a red alert and the Prime Minister speaking behind bullet proof glass (till it was recently denied by our current PM)?
3) Yes art and culture is the epitome of innocence and mustn’t come in the line of fire of politics. But then surely our soldiers posted at the border aren’t provoking the ceasefire violations, and I count them as innocent as the Indians killed in the terrorist attacks- not one sporadic incident but occurring time and again, and well planned.