New Delhi: A Goa court has dismissed a Rs 10-crore civil defamation law suit filed by the Sanatan Sanstha against Juggernaut books and author Dhirendra K Jha for his book Shadow Armies: Fringe Organisations and Foot Soldiers of Hindutva published in 2017.
The Sanatan Sanstha had said that the material in the book ‘defamed’ the organisation and had sought Rs 10 crore in damages in 2018 civil law suit filed in Goa where the organisation is headquartered.
In a statement put out by Juggernaut, Jha is quoted as having said:
“I feel a sense of relief and vindication. Persons who feel deeply uncomfortable by my research and my work attempted to silence me by alleging defamation and unleashing a punishing process on me and my publisher. But truth is a defence against defamation and, in this case, justice and the truth have thankfully prevailed.”
“At our core we believe that books, authors and ideas must be defended against attempts to silence, censor, ban and injunct. It can be intimidating to face multi-million-dollar lawsuits but in this instance at least the courts have really come through for us and we are overjoyed by the judgment,” said Juggernaut books published Chiki Sarkar and CEO Simron Khara.
The book profiles eight right wing Hindu supremacist organisations – including the Sanatan Sanstha – and their leaders. It details the nature of the links of the organisations to the BJP and the RSS.
Persons associated with the Sanatan Sanstha have been accused of involvement in murders of rationalists Govind Pansare, Narendra Dhabolkar and M.M. Kalburgi.
During Jha’s reporting for the book he found that links of the Sanatan Sanstha were established through detailed dossiers filed by the police. But little action has been taken against it despite the evidence.