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Pakistan ex-minister Kasuri condemns attack on Kulkarni

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Mumbai: Pakistan’s former foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri on Monday condemned the attack on Observer Research Foundation chief Sudheendra Kulkarni, allegedly by Shiv Sena activists, earlier in the day ostensibly to protest against the launch of a book written by the visiting dignitary.

“I feel saddened and unhappy by this attack on Kulkarni whom I have known for many years… I condemn it… the right to protest must be peaceful and these people must change their tactics of protest,” Kasuri said at a hurriedly convened press conference here following the incident.

“I have come with a message of peace… An overwhelming majority of people in both countries want peace between the two countries… But, there are some who don’t want India-Pakistan peace,” Kasuri said.

Urging the protestors not to underestimate the common sense of the people of both the countries, the Pakistani former minister pointed out that strengthening of relations between the two neighbours would benefit both.

Kasuri also recounted how the peace process between the two nations had progressed well in the past decade during the tenures of former prime ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh.

Earlier, Kulkarni categorically named the Shiv Sena, saying the party had “asked the Nehru Centre to cancel the event, failing which they would disrupt the function in the Shiv Sena style”.

“The Shiv Sena has no authority to impose such a ban… We have taken a principled stand and shall not cancel the event,” Kulkarni told media persons.

The Sion police have registered a case into the incident against unidentified people and were investigating the matter.

The incident has been strongly condemned by the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Bharatiya Janata Party and other media groups and individuals, besides evoking outrage on the social media.

The incident happened when Kulkarni was leaving his home in Sion, south central Mumbai, when a group of around a dozen alleged Sena activists accosted him.

They shouted slogans and asked him to cancel the event scheduled for later during Monday afternoon and then allegedly smeared him with black ink.

Meanwhile, a tight security blanket shrouded the venue, Nehru Centre in Worli, since Sunday evening to ward off any untoward incident.

(IANS)

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Narendra Modi Releases Rs 100 Coin To Honour Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away on August 16 at the age of 93 at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here following a prolonged illness

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India, elections, vietnam, BJP
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses a gathering in New Delhi, India. VOA

A day ahead of the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, his successor Narendra Modi on Monday released a commemorative Rs 100 coin to honour the late leader, who passed away in August.

Addressing a gathering at the Parliament House Annexe here, Modi said Vajpayee never compromised on the ideologies of the party and always spoke about national interest.

“For some people, power is oxygen…they can’t live without it…A long part of Atalji’s career was spent in the opposition benches but he spoke about national interest and never compromised on the ideology of the party.

“For long, the voice of Atalji was the voice of the nation,” Modi said.

“I assume that there must be invitations from other ideologies for joining hands to remain in power. Such things must have happened. But he never compromised.

“He was among those who could die for the nation, but would never compromise on the ideologies,” Modi said.

Vajpayee wanted democracy to be supreme. He built the Jana Sangh but when time came to rescue democracy he and others went to the Janata Party, Modi added.

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi (Wikimedia Commons)

“Likewise, when the choice was between remaining in power or comprising on ideology, he left Janata Party and formed the Bharatiya Janata Party” which “has become among the largest of political parties”, the Prime Minister said.

Hailing Vajpayee as “the best orator”, Modi said “the mind is not ready to believe that Atalji is no longer with us. He was a stalwart loved and respected across all sections of society.

Modi said e would go to Vajpayee’s memorial on Tuesday — his birth anniversary — to reiterate his commitment to the ideology and path shown by the leader.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma, BJP national President Amit Shah and veteran BJP leader and Vajpayee’s contemporary L.K. Advani were also present at the event to release the coin.

Commemorative coins are usually issued to celebrate some special occasion or to mark a special event. They also have been issued as a mark of respect towards some distinguished individuals or monument.

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The coin, Modi said, is a small effort to show our respect to the former Prime Minister, “whose life is a message for all of us”.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away on August 16 at the age of 93 at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here following a prolonged illness. (IANS)