Bloomsbury India Withdraws Publication Of Book On Delhi Riots After Receiving Backlash Over Launch

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Bloomsbury India Withdraws Publication Of Book On Delhi Riots After Receiving Backlash Over Launch

Leading publisher Bloomsbury India on Saturday said it has withdrawn the publication of the book on Delhi riots that broke out in February this year.

Leading publisher Bloomsbury India on Saturday said it has withdrawn the publication of the book on Delhi riots after receiving flak on social media.

The virtual launch of the book included BJP leader Kapil Mishra, who had been earlier accused of delivering inflammatory speeches and instigating hate against other religions and minority communities, along with Bhupendra Yadav, filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri and Nupur Sharma.

Mishra took to twitter announcing the launch.

Soon after the news about the launch of the book broke, individuals including authors, actors, intellectuals, journalists and others condemned the publishing house for its publishing, questioning the company's credibility by approving the book that clearly targets minorities and freedom of speech and is far apart from delivering facts.

The publishing company later said the event was organised without their knowledge and has now decided to cancel the release of the book titled 'Delhi Riots 2020 - The Untold Story'.

"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," the company's statement as quoted by NDTV.

"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 added.

The company said it strongly supports freedom of speech but also has a deep sense of responsibility towards society.

The book is authored by Delhi University teachers Sonali Chitalkar and Prerna Malhotra, and advocate Monika Arora. It says that the riots were orchestrated by 'jihadis' and 'urban Naxals', that had links with the Islamic State, and involved 'professional sharpshooters'. It also states that Muslim mobs were the instigators for the anti-CAA protests at Jamia and Shaheen Bagh that led to the riots.

The book claims the involvement of PFI (People's Front of India) or ISIS of providing the list of names of individuals to be targeted by the mob and snipers, especially against security forces, police, intelligence agencies or persons belonging to Hindu organisations.

The book claims the Muslim mob to have made the first attack and target key areas like Northeast Delhi like Shiv Vihar. In response to the publishing house's decision and public flak, Mishra said it was nothing but a campaign against writers.

Earlier at the launch, Mishra had said, the self-proclaimed torchbearers of freedom of speech are afraid of the book.

Bhupender Yadav, in his speech at the virtual launch, discussed the anti-CAA protests, stating that it clearly shows people's belief in the very Constitution. "The people of Shaheen Bagh who protested, we have no problem with that, people can stage dharnas anywhere. But tell me one speech in which they said the rights of minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan should be safeguarded," Yadav said.

He further urged the government to initiate an investigation to unearth the involvement of foreign funding for the protests, possible networks of people who instigated the protests.

One of the authors, Sonali Chitalkar told The Sunday Express that they haven't received any official message from Bloomsbury regarding the withdrawal of the publication of their book. On the contrary, she also claims that Bloomsbury knew about the launch.

"The publishers should have spoken to us first. Without even reading, a lobby has pressured the publishers to withdraw a book… We have spoken to both the communities, their people and leaders," the media quoted Chitalkar as saying.

Speaking to the media, co-author Prerna Malhotra said it was a 'sorry state of affairs' for the company to take decisions under certain pressure. Adding, she said the book speaks nothing but the truth about the events and the books did go through multiple levels of scrutiny.

Many people criticised the publishing company of barring the publication of the book, saying the company was bullied into withdrawing the book and questioned the censorship.

Some alleged that the mob that forced the cancellation of 'Delhi Riots 2020' is no different from the Nazi mob and claimed the banning of book as an act of Fascism.

Many alleged the publishing company to show their biasness towards the two books on a similar issue, one that was approved, 'Shaheen Bagh' by Zia-Ur-Aslamand the other one withdrawn 'Delhi Riots 2020'.

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