'If you don’t agree with the author, don’t read the book': HC rejects plea to stop publication, sale of Khurshid’s book

The Delhi High Court on Thursday rejected a petition to stop the circulation, sale, purchase and publication of Congress leader Salman Khurshid’s new book Sunrise over Ayodhaya: Nationhood In Our Times in which he has allegedly compared ‘Hindutva’ to radical terrorist groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram.

Justice Yashwant Verma said, “What can we do if people are feeling this. If they didn’t like the passage, they can skip the chapter. They could have shut their eyes if they are feeling hurt”.

The High Court was hearing a petition by advocate Vineet Jindal who claimed that the statement published in the book is “not only instigating and provoking statement but also stirring enraged emotions among the Hindu religion followers”.

“If you don’t agree with the author, don’t read it. Ask people not to buy the book or read it. Please tell people the book is badly authored, read something better,” Justice Verma said, while refusing to entertain the public interest petition.

In the petition, Mr. Jindal reproduced the ‘controversial’ paragraph in the book which reads: “Sanatan dharma and classical Hinduism known to sages and saints was being pushed aside by a robust version of Hindutva, by all standards a political version similar to jihadist Islam of groups liks ISIS and Boko Haram of recent years”.

“This statement shows his [Mr. Khurshid] intent of enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion which is against the ideology of a secular democratic country like ours,” Mr. Jindal said in his plea.

‘Threatens peace’

Mr. Jindal further argued that Mr. Khurshid being an MP and former Law Minister is a public figure, having a larger influence on public. “The statement is agitating the Hindu community and also threatens the security, peace and harmony of our nation and disrupt public order,” he said.

Mr. Jindal argued that freedom of expression is not absolute and carries with it special duties and responsibilities which may be subject to certain restrictions provided by law.

“In a country like India, which is perpetually on a communal tinderbox, where religious sentiments run deep, where respect for certain public and historical figures always come accompanied with veneration for their demi-god status, it doesn’t take much for malice to be coated with a toxic communal hue based on the contents of the book,” the petition said.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2022 3:39:31 PM |

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