The Trinamool Congress-led government, which has faced severe criticism for its intolerance of dissent, has whipped up yet another controversy when the publishers of a book, critical of the government’s policies for minorities, said they were harassed by the police.
The city police raided the office of Mitra and Ghosh Publishers Pvt. Ltd. demanding that copies of Musalmander Koronio (What Muslims should do) written by Nazrul Islam, the Additional Director General (Training) of the State police, be immediately handed over.
“They threatened us that unless we produce the copies of the book, we would be arrested,” Sabitendranath Roy, proprietor of the firm told The Hindu on Sunday.
Mr. Roy said he had the first inkling that the book was being discussed in the corridors of power when a colleague told him that inquiries were being made on the evening of August 30.
“Later, at about 11 p.m. that night I got a phone call from a senior police official. He told me that he urgently needed five copies of the book. But I could not do anything at that late hour and told him that I would be able to oblige him only the next day,” Mr. Roy said.
On August 31, even as he busied himself in trying to arrange for the copies of the book, the police arrived at the office of the publishers in College Street. The shutters of the sales counter were forced shut while the policemen searched the premises, he said.
“Till they were satisfied that the book was not available there, they refused to allow us to open the counter. Meanwhile, I had to struggle to find the book and eventually requested Mr. Islam himself to part with some of the complimentary copies we had given him,” he said.
Mr. Roy had printed about 200 copies of the book, which has been flying off the shelves, something he had not expected.