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New Delhi, August 23, 2020
Following the withdrawal of the book "Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story" by publisher Bloomsbury India, another publishing house Garuda Prakashan has stepped in and confirmed taking over its publishing, it said in a statement on Sunday.
The publisher, committed to giving voice to "Indic issues" said the book is expected to hit the stands within 15 days. The publishing house called the dissociation "shocking", adding that it believes that "in literature, no voice can be suppressed and each point of view must have a fair chance to reach audiences".
"Garuda Prakashan is committed to an authentic narrative of Indian history - both ancient and contemporary. It is sad to see that other publishers are being driven by extraneous events rather than the content of the book. We support eminent authors of the book to bring out the true picture of Delhi riots," Sankrant Sanu, CEO of Garuda Prakashan said in a statement.
Written by Monika Arora, Sonali Chitalkar and Prerna Malhotra, the book is on the violence in northeast Delhi earlier this year. Noting the "curtailment of the freedom of speech at the hands of the publishing organisation Bloomsbury India, following pressure from its UK headquarters, that led to cancellation of the contract in an unprofessional manner last-minute", the authors and Garuda Prakashan have mutually decided to join hands and publish the book.
Publisher Bloomsbury India had said on Saturday that it was withdrawing the publication of the book ‘Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story' planned for September "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."
"Bloomsbury India strongly supports freedom of speech but also has a deep sense of responsibility towards society," the publisher said in a statement.
A storm had been brewing since late Friday after a purported invitation on social media, with the Bloomsbury logo at its bottom left, stated that BJP General Secretary Bhupendra Yadav would launch the book with party leader Kapil Mishra, besides the authors, as also filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri, among others, attending the virtual event.
In response to this, Bloomsbury issued a statement on Friday evening denying it was involved in the launch.
Meanwhile, the authors of the book have accused Bloomsbury India of giving in to pressure.
"Bloomsbury India signed the contract with us, approved the final draft, published 100 copies. We distributed all the 100 copies to mediapersons, writers, authors, social media influencers to read and comment. Book launch was planned on August 22 at 4 pm. At 3:30 pm, Bloomsbury India tells us that Bloomsbury UK has pressured them to withdraw this book."
"They said that Bloomsbury UK was pressured by international authors and other social activists who have tweeted and tagged Bloomsbury UK not to publish this book. These people have not read this book and without reading they have pressured Bloomsbury to withdraw the book. This is killing of freedom of expression. It is killing of writers' right to write. We want to tell Bloomsbury UK that black lives matter, brown lives matter too. Thanks Garuda for standing with the authors, Thanks Garuda for standing with the book. Thanks Garuda for standing with freedom of expression," the authors said in a joint statement released by Garuda Prakashan.
Author Monika Arora had also made public an email she shared with the previous publisher, seeking a reply to the cancellation.
Author Sanjay Dixit has also tweeted terminating his contract with Bloomsbury India for his books.