By Anindya Banerjee
New Delhi, Aug 25 (IANS) Blaming the “Communist-Islamist lobby” and the “Jihadi-Naxal camp”, the RSS’ English language mouthpiece ‘Organiser’ has hit out at the pressure groups behind Bloomsbury India’s recent decision to withdraw the book ‘Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story’, whose pre-launch event caused an online stir.
The RSS’ scathing article comes immediately after its Hindi mouthpiece ‘Panchjanya’ lashed out at Bollywood actor Aamir Khan, calling him the “Dragon’s favorite Khan”, for his visit to the Turkish first family and his apparent popularity in China.
Printed under the headline “Sham called ‘responsible publishing’; Shameful suppression of FoE”, the RSS magazine dedicated 4 pages to this issue. The article states that “Bloomsbury India breaches the contract with the authors and backs out from publishing the book titled ‘Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story’ under pressure from “Communist-Islamist lobbyists.”
Calling the Delhi riots “anti-Hindu”, the article says the publication came under pressure from “the jihadis and naxals who are opposed to free speech”.
‘Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story’, a book on the horrific violence in northeast Delhi earlier this year, was withdrawn by publisher Bloomsbury India after it stirred a row in the wake of an ‘invitation’ stating that BJP leader Kapil Mishra, seen by some as sparking the riots, would be among those attending its virtual launch on Saturday, which he did along with BJP General Secretary Bhupender Yadav and noted filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri.
The event was “organised without our knowledge by the authors, with participation by parties, of whom the publishers would not have approved”, Bloomsbury said following online outrage, adding it “strongly supports freedom of speech but also has a deep sense of responsibility towards society”.
The article in the RSS mouthpiece alleges that “the online book launch event caused consternation in Jihadi-Naxal camp”. It claimed that the publishers “chickened out” in the face of pressure from the same group of people.
Describing those clamouring for the withdrawal, the article goes on to allege that “The mob was led by people such as controversial actress Swara Bhaskar, Congress supporter Saket Gokhale, Leftist author Meena Kandasamy, Hindu phobic journalists like Hartosh Singh Bal, anti-India author Rana Ayyub, among others. The South Asia solidarity initiative, which has links to Islamists, also jumped onto the bandwagon to bully Bloomsbury India into withdrawing the book”.
The article also highlighted how the same publishers came out with a book on the Shaheen Bagh protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
The article articulated the retaliation the publication faced as a mark of protest for the withdrawal of the book that set social media on fire.
Sanjeev Sanyal, who is the Principal Economic Adviser to the Ministry of Finance, JNU professor Anand Ranganathan, Rajasthan cadre IAS officer Sanjay Dixit, and author and Consulting Editor of a business daily Monika Halan were among a host of authors who disassociated themselves from the publishers, following the row.
While making their decision, which the article claims was due to the “pressure” from a select set of individuals and groups, Bloomsbury India had said, “… 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.”
In the most recent edition of ‘Panchjanya’, the RSS also lashed out at Bollywood star Aamir Khan. The article “Dragon’s favorite Khan” spread over 4 pages said, “Aamir Khan’s movie ‘Dangal’ did a business of Rs 1400 crore in China while Salman Khan’s ‘Sultan’ could only do business of Rs 40 crore. Aamir Khan is the brand ambassador of Chinese phone company Vivo which ignores security issues. According to Global Times, he has more than 10 lakh followers on Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo.”
(Anindya Banerjee can be contacted at [email protected])