New Delhi (PTI): The paint attack on BJP’s former strategist Sudheendra Kulkarni was today roundly condemned by political parties with its stalwart L K Advani saying it reflected “growing intolerance” in the country that is cause for concern and Congress dubbing Shiv Sena as “Desi Taliban.”
As condemnation of the attack by Sena activists poured in from across the country including from the civil society, the Centre voiced its disapproval calling it “unjust.”
“I strongly condemn whosoever has done it…. In the last few days, there are these signs…where any person or any point of view is not acceptable, then you resort to violence or turn intolerant towards them.
“This is a matter of concern for the nation. Democracy must ensure tolerance for a different point of view,” Advani said, shortly after Sena activists smeared black paint on Kulkarni over his refusal to cancel the book launch function of former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri in Mumbai. Kulkarni is a former close aide of Advani.
In a veiled message to Shiv Sena, a key ally of BJP, the former deputy prime minister said, “at least those who are involved with us should work to strengthen democracy and not encourage such acts of violence and disown them.”
“But whosoever has done it, has besmirched the good name of the country.”
In a series of tweets, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh said Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray must control his “goons.”
“Such Intolerance in India can’t be tolerated. First Ghulam Ali concert and now Kasuri’s book launch. We don’t want a Desi Taliban in India,” he said.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi claimed incidents of “intolerance” have risen over the last 18 months after the BJP came to power.
Another party spokesman Sanjay Jha said, “Black paint is not on @SudheenKulkarni’s face, but a dark blot on Indian democracy. The forces of fascism are flying high.”
Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said in a democracy everyone has a right to agree or disagree but this type of protest is not justified as it is against the very core of our democratic values.
Another Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said everyone has the freedom to protest but not physically harm anyone.
“Sabhya samaj main virodh karne ka tarika hote hain (There are ways to protest in a civilised society). Our Constitution allows us to hold protest in a proper manner…One should only lodge protest under the law and this will act to strengthen our democracy,” he said.
CPI (M) targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the incident, saying the top BJP leader’s ‘Make in India’ initiative is nothing but ‘Breaking India’ campaign.
“Modi model is not #MakeInIndia but breaking in India & pillars r competitive communalism, intolerance & misogyny and Casteism,” tweeted CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat.
CPI leader D Raja said that Sena’s actions were “highly deplorable”.
Former Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao asked, “Where is my India? Anguished and ashamed. I am sure Gandhiji is weeping. Tears in Heaven.”
“Let us be a grown-up nation. Let us put away intolerance. Cry, the beloved country,” she added.