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New Delhi: The Delhi high court dismissed a plea asking for the publication and sale of Congress leader Salman Khurshid’s book to be stopped, noting that there is no imperative for people to buy the book or read it.
“Ask people not to buy the book or read it,” Justice Yashwant Varma said, according to a report by LiveLaw.
The book Sunrise Over Ayodhya, even before release, saw pitched political debate, with the Bharatiya Janata Party and other rightwing organisations opposing Khurshid’s views expressed in it.
Advocate Vineet Jindal had filed the petition through advocate Raj Kishor Choudhary, on the basis of the allegation that the former Union minister had compared “Hindutva” to groups like ISIS and Boko Haram in his book.
“Tell everyone the book is badly authored. Ask them to read something better. What can we do if people are so sensitive. Nobody has asked them to read it,” the high court said.
Choudhary’s petition, LiveLaw has reported, contended that the excerpt caused a “breach of public peace.”
“Everywhere it is going on. Something happened in Nainital also. It may be possible that something is not happening today but it may happen tomorrow. Every Communal riot in this country has such kind of backing. This part from the must go,” Choudhary submitted.
Amidst a show of outrage from the Bharatiya Janata Party and Hindutva groups, Khurshid’s Nainital home was allegedly vandalised and set on fire on November 15.
“So, 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 plea further said.
The court had earlier, while refusing to stop the publication, circulation, and sale of the book, taken exception to the fact that uproar over the book was based on its excerpts alone.
“Also, only a copy of the excerpt has been placed on record and such excerpt cannot be read in exclusion/isolation for interpreting the context in which the said statement has been made,” the court noted.
It also said that the applicant can always propagate against the book and can even publish a rebuttal to the alleged paragraphs which have hurt his sentiments.