Publishing house Bloomsbury India has decided to withdraw the book criminalising Muslims during this year’s Delhi pogrom after global condemnation. The publishing house faced widespread outrage from activists for its decision to publish a book written by pro-Hindutva individuals on the anti-Muslim pogrom of Delhi that killed 53 people, mostly Muslims. This was after it emerged that former AAP MLA, Kapil Mishra, who later joined the BJP, was invited as the chief guest for the book launch event.
The company said in a statement, “Bloomsbury India had planned to release Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story in September, a book purportedly giving a factual report on the riots in Delhi in February 2020, based on investigations and interviews conducted by the authors. However, in view of very recent events including a virtual pre-publication launch organised without our knowledge by the authors, with participation by parties of whom the Publishers would not have approved, we have decided to withdraw publication of the book.”
It continued, “Bloomsbury India strongly supports freedom of speech but also has a deep sense of responsibility towards society.”
Statement: “#Bloomsbury India had planned to release #DelhiRiots2020: The Untold Story in September, a book purportedly giving a factual report on the riots in Delhi in February 2020, based on investigations and interviews conducted by the authors. (1/n)
— Surbhi Gupta (@bysurbhigupta) August 22, 2020
The book, Delhi Riots 2020- The Untold Story, has been authored by Monika Arora, Sonali Chitalkar and Prerna Malhotra. Arora had taken to Twitter to write, “How Jehadi-Naxal lobby planned & executed. ‘Delhi Riots-The Untold Story’ Book launch on 22 Aug at 4 pm.”
Though Bloomsbury India had denied its role in organising the book launch event, many did not find the justification plausible as they questioned the publishing house’s decision to commission a book criminalising Muslims, who were the victims of the religious pogrom.
Kapil Mishra has always been held responsible for the February pogrom, which was triggered by the former AAP MLA’s call for violence in the presence of senior officers of the Delhi Police. The Delhi Police, which reports to Home Minister Amit Shah, has also come under plenty of condemnation for its inaction against Mishra and other senior BJP functionaries such as Union Minister Anurag Thakur and BJP MP Parvesh Verma. Both Thakur and Verma too had issued calls for violence against Muslims ahead of the February pogrom.
Justice Muralidhar of the Delhi High Court had made scathing observations against the Delhi Police and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the deteriorating law and order in Delhi following the anti-Muslim pogrom. Justice Muralidhar had directed the Delhi Police to inform the court within a day on the filing of FIRs of politicians guilty of making hate speeches. They included BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Verma, Abhay Verma and Kapil Mishra. However, the same day, he was transferred by the Centre’s Narendra Modi government from the Delhi High Court to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.