Three authors sever ties with Bloomsbury India after publisher withdraws book on 2020 Delhi riots
The authors' statements come shortly after Bloomsbury India faced criticism as the launch of a new book, Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story, was announced.
A day after Bloomsbury India announced the withdrawal of a new title on the 2020 Delhi riots, three authors tweeted that they were severing ties with the publishing house.
On 22 August, hours after the news of the withdrawal of Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story was made public, writer and economist Sanjeev Sanyal stated he will never publish a book with Bloomsbury India.
A few weeks ago, I had raised the issue of how a tiny cabal controls Indian publishing and constantly imposes ideological censorship. We have just witnessed one example of how this insidious control is wielded. 1/n
— Sanjeev Sanyal (@sanjeevsanyal) August 22, 2020
Following suit, retired Indian Administrative Service officer and author Sanjay Dixit said he was ending his relationship with the publisher, cancelling his upcoming book with them, Nullifying Article 370 and Enacting CAA. "Let them paint themselves red," he added.
This censorship by @BloomsburyIndia is unacceptable. I do hereby announce that I am ending my relationship with them, and will send Bloomsbury a notice to withdraw my book 'Nullifying Article 370 and Enacting CAA' due to be released on Sep 20, 2020. Let them paint themselves Red https://t.co/K609dLw3yN — Sanjay Dixit ಸಂಜಯ್ ದೀಕ್ಷಿತ್ संजय दीक्षित (@Sanjay_Dixit) August 22, 2020
Anand Ranganathan, professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University said he was 'appalled to see Bloomsbury India buckle under threats by fascists', and would return the advance payment made to him for his upcoming title Forgotten Heroes of Indian Science.
1. I am appalled to see @BloomsburyIndia, publisher of two of my books, buckle under threats by fascists and withdraw the book Delhi Riots - 2020. I stand in complete solidarity with the authors.
This is an assault on Freedom of Expression and on those who cherish this freedom.
— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) August 22, 2020
The authors' statements come shortly after the publishing house found itself embroiled in an online row as the launch of Monika Arora, Sonali Chitalkar and Prerna Malhotra's Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story was announced.
Scheduled for Saturday, 22 August, the event listed among its guests BJP leader Kapil Mishra, whose pro-CAA speeches preceded the February 2020 communal riots in Delhi. Apart from Mishra, filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri and OpIndia editor Nupur Sharma were expected to mark their attendance as well.
After a row erupted on social media about the nature of the book and those attending the launch, Bloomsbury India released an official statement to Newslaundry, saying they were withdrawing the book. The statement shared in full reads:
"Bloomsbury India had planned to release Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story in September, a book purportedly giving a factual report on the riots in Delhi in February 2020, based on investigations and interviews conducted by the authors. However, 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. Bloomsbury India strongly supports freedom of speech but also has a deep sense of responsibility towards society.”