One of the authors of a book about the Delhi riots that was dropped by its publisher, Bloomsbury India, on August 22, advocate Monika Arora, said on Monday that the decision was taken under pressure from Bloomsbury UK.
“The pressure was coming from Bloomsbury UK. Long live colonialism. The white man is indeed still ruling us”, she wrote in a statement.
The book written by Ms. Arora and Delhi University professors Sonali Chitalkar and Prerna Malhotra, Delhi Riots – The Untold Story, was withdrawn by the publisher half an hour before a virtual pre-launch event organised by the authors.
Ms. Arora said in her statement that the book arose out of a report on the riots by Group of Intellectuals and Academicians that was presented to Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G. Kishen Reddy on March 11.
“We approached publishers and settled on Bloomsbury India. Book drafts were discussed, quotations taken and a contract was signed… Over the next three months we discussed and worked on draft after draft, taking inputs from Bloomsbury editors and legal experts. The final draft was approved by Bloomsbury editors”, she wrote.
Pre-orders for the book had started on Amazon when the book launch event was announced and “lynch mob started gathering” on social media, she said. Without reading the book, she said the critics on social media said it blamed minorities.
She said Bloomsbury first told the authors on August 21 to remove their logo from the launch invite, which they complied with.
“Minor issues were talked over. Between then and the next day on 22 August 2020, half an hour before the book launch, Bloomsbury India told us on a call that they are withdrawing from publishing the book”, she said.
The right to freedom of speech and expression had been denied, she stated.
However, the book would now be published by Garuda Prakashan, an Indian publisher.
“The book Delhi Riots 2020 –The Untold Story is based on thorough ground research. The authors met and interviewed persons belonging to both communities. The book documents first-hand the way that political forces and ideologically radicalized persons created a communal rift in the city from December 2019 over the issue of the Citizenship [Amendment] Act”, she said.