Giving in to pressure from the nexus of Jihadi and Naxal elements, Bloomsbury India has decided to withdraw publication of a book on Delhi anti-Hindu riots which aimed to question the Jihadi-Naxal narrative of the February 2020 Delhi riots. The book ‘Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story’ authored by Monika Arora, Sonali Chitalkar and Prerna Malhotra was slated to be published by Bloomsbury India. However, when the book launch event was announced by the authors which was to be attended by them along with film director Vivek Angihotri, OpIndia editor Nupur Sharma, BJP leader Kapil Mishra, the Jihadi-Naxal combine along with Congress supporters went on a overdrive to pressurise the publishing house to withdraw the book
Consequently, Bloomsbury India withdrew the publication of the book falling to the threats of the Jihadis and Naxals who are opposed to free speech. In a statement, the publication house cited a ‘virtual pre-publication launch organised without our knowledge by the authors’ as one of the reasons for its decision. Bloomsbury India said that they had planned to release the book, a factual account based on investigation and interviews conducted by the authors, in September 2020 but they have rescinded their decision.
The publication house further added, “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.” Even as Bloomsbury informed them that they are withdrawing the book, it was marked as unavailable on e-commerce site Amazon. Before that, the book was available for pre-order, and a large number of people had pre-ordered the book ahead of its planned launch in next month.
The launch event that was to be attended by the authors and other prominent people
Earlier to the decision by Bloomsbury India, to withdraw the book came after a mob consisting of Jihadi-Naxal and Congress supporters pressurised the publication house to not to publish the book. The mob was led by people such as controversial actress Swara Bhaskar, Congress supporter Saket Gokhale, Left author Meena Kandasamy, Hindubhopic journalists’ like Hartosh Singh Bal, anti-India author Rana Ayyub, among others.
The South Asia Solidarity Initiative, which has links to Islamists, also jumped on the bandwagon to bully Bloomsbury India into withdrawing the book. It had recently protested against ‘Hindu fascists’ at Times Square in New York on the occasion of the Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan.
‘Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story’ book removed from Amazon by Bloomsbury India, while the propaganda book is still available
Authors hit back with a vow never to publish their book with Bloomsbury
Perturbed by the move to take back the book by Bloomsbury India and attack on free speech, many prominent Indian authors have hit back at the publication house for the retrograde move. Authors like Sanjeev Sanyal, Sandeep Deo, Sanjay Dixit and Anand Ranganathan said that they would never publish their books with Bloomsbury India.
"I have not read the book in question & have no idea if it is good or bad. However, this is obviously not a quality control problem but about censorship. I commit to never publish a book with @BloomsburyIndia", wrote Sanjeev Sanyal on Twitter
"As a writer for @BloomsburyIndia, I declare the withdrawal of all my books from #bloomsburyindia which under pressure from the left lobby has canceled the publication of a book on #DelhiRiots2020. It is a killing of ideas", wrote author Sandeep Deo
Retired IAS officer and author Sanjay Dixit expressed his protest against the withdrawal of the book by ending his relationship with them. "This censorship by @BloomsburyIndia is unacceptable. I do hereby announce that I am ending my relationship with them, and will send Bloomsbury a notice to withdraw my book 'Nullifying Article 370 and Enacting CAA' due to be released on Sep 20, 2020. Let them paint themselves Red", he tweeted
JNU Scientist, author and TV panelist Anand Ranganathan expressed his displeasure by tweeting "If Bloomsbury does not retract its decision, my co-author and I have decided that we will return the substantial advance paid to us by Bloomsbury for our forthcoming book. We cannot allow our book to be published by a house that does not respect Freedom of Expression."
Prafulla Ketkar, Editor of Organiser pointed out that the same publication house did not bat an eyelid while publishing a book on the anti-Democratic Shaheen Bagh. "So @BloomsburyIndia has no issues in publishing the fictional cause of #DelhiRiots2020 but in the name of FoE & Responsible publishing they are backing off from publishing #DelhiRiotsUntoldStory by @advmonikaarora", he wrote.
In a thread exposing the Left controlled publishing industry in the country behind such moves, senior journalist and author Kanchan Gupta wrote about the way Bloomsbury was always biased towards politically correct books by #LeftLiberal authors. "Loathsome 'cancel culture' rears its unsightly head in #India as @BloomsburyIndia dumps book on Delhi riot under pressure from bully #LeftLiberal activists and Islamists. Book was due to be published in September. This is a new low. All who believe in freedom should protest", he wrote.
Further exposing the Left cabal of the English language publishing industry in the country, Kanchan Gupta wrote "The English language publishing industry was never fair. It was always biased towards politically correct books by #LeftLiberal authors. @BloomsburyIndia has now shown the English-language publishers what they are: a spineless lot willing to crawl and be used as doormats. At another time in another era libraries like Nalanda were ransacked and books destroyed by invaders. Less than a 100 years ago we saw libraries being destroyed and books being burned by Nazis."
"In recent times Islamists have destroyed and proscribed books. Now we have the spectacle of #LeftLiberal activists and #Islamists joining hands to impose their vile 'cancel culture' of silencing voices, forcing cancellation of publication of books and deplatforming writers. In their toxic and dim monochromatic world, democracy will die. The 'cancelled' book must see the light of day, whatever it takes. And it will. As for @BloomsburyIndia, I call upon all who value freedom, democracy and #FreeSpeech to stop patronising their business which is now modelled on appeasing bully activists.", wrote Kanchan Gupta in his thread.
Support for book and authors
Many have come in support of the authors and have also lambasted Bloomsbury India for chickening out due to pressure and curbing free speech. Prominent publishing house Garuda Prakashan have come in support of the authors of the book on DelhiRiots2020. "Garuda Prakashan stands for bringing out books based on authentic facts. If the author @advmonikaarora ji of the book in question gets in touch with us, we will take it up further", it wrote.
One of India's top most literary fests, Mangaluru Lit Fest has also come in support of the book on Delhi riots and its authors. "While we cherish dialogues,discussions & debates with literature as foundation;FOE is pushed into stake today with #BloomsburyIndia buckling to threat of fascists & silence voice of authors of "Delhi Riots 2020" by withdrawing from publishing! Selectively Bloom-Conveniently Bury?", it wrote on Twitter.
"By withdrawing a book that had almost made it to bookshelves, @BloomsburyIndia has revealed the dirty nexus between these publishing houses and the Left-Pseudo Liberals in this country. It's for the readers to decide. Here, publishers decide to destroy? We stand by the author of the book and in solidarity condemn the withdrawal by @BloomsburyIndia. A publishing house that dares not stand up for it's own choice has no business being in the business of books!", Mangaluru Lit Fest tweeted further.