By Sarah Kuehn,
International News Writer
On Oct. 12, right-wing Hindu protesters in Mumbai doused political activist and head of the Observer and Research Foundation, Sudheendra Kulkarni, in black ink to protest the launch of a book written by the former Pakistani foreign minister, according to The Indian Express.
The Shiv Sena party, a partner in the Maharashtra government, stated that this attack was a mild form of peaceful and democratic protest against Pakistan, though the party canceled a planned protest that was supposed to take place at the book launch itself, according to the Daily Star.
Mr. Kulkarni, however, called the protest an attack on democracy.
“A group of 10 or 15 Shiv Sainiks mobbed me, they stopped my car, asked me to come out, they caught me, started abusing me, they said we had ordered you to stop the launch this evening, you didn’t listen to us, this is what we’ll do with you,” Mr. Kulkarni described in a statement quoted by the BBC.
Mr. Kulkarni went on to attend several press conferences with the ink still on his face before he was admitted to the hospital to have it removed.
Kulkarni stated after the attack that the Observer and Research Foundation will continue to hold a book launch for former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri.
Kulkarni added that his organization would not be “cowed down by such events and the book launch will happen as planned,” according to the Indian Express.
This action has drawn controversy from several sources, including a senior leader from the Bharatiya Janata Party, LK Advani. Advani was cited as saying that incidents such as these “show a growing intolerance towards views that are different from one’s own,” as quoted in the Indian Express.
This incident is among a series of events that are leading to growing concerns about minority treatments in India.
According to BBC, a 50 year old Muslim man from north India was lynched in September due to rumors that he had stored and consumed beef.
Another attack occurred last week when lawmakers from the BJP party attacked an “independent Muslim politician in Kashmir because he had held a “beef party”,” according to the Daily Star.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, October 20th print edition.
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