Bloomsbury India is facing widespread condemnation 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, has been invited as the chief guest for the book launch event.
According to the media invite, the book, Delhi Riots 2020- The Untold Story, has been authored by Monika Arora, Sonali Chitalkar and Prerna Malhotra. Arora took to Twitter to write, “How Jehadi-Naxal lobby planned & executed. ‘Delhi Riots-The Untold Story’ Book launch on 22 Aug at 4 pm.”
From the language of the tweet by one of the authors, it’s clear that the authors have decided to hold Muslims responsible for the pogrom that saw dozens of innocent Muslims being killed for days in India’s national capital. Other two guests invited for the book launch include right-wing filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri and editor of pro-Hindutva fake news blog page OpIndia.
As expected, Bloomsbury began to face international outrage for its decision to what many said legitimised the anti-Muslim religious pogrom.
Activist Saket Gokhale wrote, “Publisher @BloomsburyIndia is releasing a book which seeks to blame minorities for the Delhi Pogrom. Nupur Sharma of OpIndia & CRIMINAL KAPIL MISHRA OF BJP are guests of honor at the release. An int’l publishing house openly pushes sanghi communal agenda.” He ended his tweet with hashtag #BoycottBloomsbury.
Gokhale’s subsequent tweet read, “All authors across the world working with @BloomsburyBooks & @BloomsburyPub should know that their India division propagates fake communal propaganda & tries to justify a pogrom. To give a platform to hate speech in India while virtue signaling overseas is the new tactic.”
To give a platform to hate speech in India while virtue signaling overseas is the new tactic.
— Saket Gokhale (@SaketGokhale) August 21, 2020
Similar sentiments followed from other activists and members of civil society.
@BloomsburyBooks do you know that @bloomsburyIndia
has published a book on the Delhi 2020 riots that places the blame on the victims? It criminalises the muslim community and seeks to dog whistle to the hindu majoritarian politics currently in India.
— Persis Taraporevala (@persistara) August 21, 2020
(Thread)@BloomsburyIndia is releasing a book on the Delhi Riots 2020 — and guess who the Guest of Honours are:
KAPIL MISHRA, the hate-monger and brain-child of goli maaron saalon ko (shoot the bastards) slogan, who explicitly called for violence against Muslims and Dalits. pic.twitter.com/bC2HoFlmSg
— meena kandasamy || இளவேனில் (@meenakandasamy) August 21, 2020
Shame on @BloomsburyIndia.
I wouldn’t spend another penny on their books. You shouldn’t too. https://t.co/HLaI16RuAL
— Siddharth🌹 (@DearthOfSid) August 21, 2020
Shame on you @BloomsburyIndia.
This is like publishing Hitler blaming Jews for Kristallnacht. @BloomsburyBooks @BloomsburyPub you shd know what your Indian counterpart is doing. https://t.co/UeuwI1YIAk
— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) August 21, 2020
— Nidhi Razdan (@Nidhi) August 21, 2020
Shame on you @BloomsburyIndia
for publishing this Anti Muslim propaganda.
Delhi’s Muslims had faced state sponsored pogrom, and now they are publishing propaganda and inviting these hatemongers as Guest of Honour.
— Md Asif Khan (@imMAK02) August 21, 2020
— Somak Ghoshal 😷📚 (@somakghoshal) August 21, 2020
— nikhil wagle (@waglenikhil) August 21, 2020
Journalist Suhasini Haider quoted a statement from Bloomsbury India, which denied its role in organising the book launch event. But the publishing house did not explain why it had chosen to commission a book, which criminalises Muslims for this year’s Delhi pogrom.
— Suhasini Haidar (@suhasinih) August 21, 2020
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.