We are exploring legal options: Chavan

With the Supreme Court lifting the ban on James Laine's controversial book on Maratha king Shivaji, Maharashtra government on Sunday set up a three-member committee to explore options to stop its printing and circulation in the State.

“At no cost, should there be printing and circulation of the book in the State,” Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said addressing a press conference after the customary Assembly session eve tea party which was boycotted by the Opposition.

Home Minister R.R. Patil said the State government would write to the Centre recommending enactment of a stringent law to prevent defamatory writings against iconic figures.

The Chief Minister said his government shared the strong sentiments of the people of the State over the objectionable references made to Shivaji in the book.

“Since, the Supreme Court has given its verdict of lifting of the ban, the State has decided to proceed legally in this matter. The committee comprising Advocate General, Law Secretary and Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) Home will explore legal options and advise the government accordingly,” Mr. Chavan said.

Mr. Patil said the committee would give its views on the matter in two days.

“Asked whether action would be taken against historians for providing defamatory information about Shivaji, Mr. Patil said police had questioned the historians mentioned in the book and all of them had categorically denied that they had provided any such information.

Patil gheraoed

The activists of the district unit of the Sambhaji Brigade of the Maratha Seva Sangh gheraoed Mr. Patil on Saturday at Yavatmal demanding a ban on the controversial book. The agitators demanded immediate arrest of the members of the Bhandarkar Institute ‘for providing incorrect information about Shivaji to the author of the book.’

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