Mumbai: Justifying Uddhav Thackeray's move of felicitating six party workers, who allegedly smeared Observer and Research Foundation (ORF) chairman Sudheendra Kulkarni's face with black paint, senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Tuesday compared the party activists to soldiers fighting with Pakistanis on the border.
While coming to the defence of his party chief, Raut said, “If we can give Param Vir Chakras and Veer Chakras to the soldiers fighting with Pakitan, then what's wrong in felicitating people who allegedly smeared Kulkarni's face with black paint to protest former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri's book launch in Mumbai.”
Appearing in no mood to relent in its opposition to Kulkarni, Raut said every Shiv Sainink, who was fighting against Pakistan was a soldier.
Remaining defiant, the Sena leader said, “Is it a crime to be a patriot,” further adding “By protesting against Pakistanis what crime have we done?”
Raut's reaction comes after Uuddhav today felicitated six party workers who allegedly smeared Kulkarni's face with black paint.
"During his meeting with these activists, Uddhavji patted them for their work," a source close to the Sena leader told PTI.
Sena vibhag pramukh Mangesh Satamkar reached Matoshree along with the party workers to a warm welcome. Later, they met Uddhav.
The six -- Gajanand Patil, Dinesh Prasad, Ashok Waghmare, Prakash Husbe, Samadhan Jadhav and Venkatesh Nair -- were yesterday arrested and later released.
In a hard-hitting editorial, Sena mouthpiece Saamana has called the veteran journalist a Pakistani agent, saying that with people like Kulkarni present in India, Pakistan need not send those like Ajmal Kasab.
The editorial went on to attack the BJP and termed Kulkarni as the man behind the cash-for-votes sting.
Meanwhile, Kulkarni described himself as an "agent of peace" and not a "Pakistani agent" as labelled by Shiv Sena and asked the saffron party to respect other people's freedom of expression.