On Saturday, amid massive social media backlash, Bloomsbury India decided to withdraw publication of a book on the Delhi riots of February 2020. The book had gone viral on Friday as a poster for a launch event began circulating. While the organisation distanced itself from the same, it would seem that more drastic measures were necessitated.
And while Bloomsbury India in an official statement that was shared with The Free Press Journal said that the decision had been taken "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", 'guest of honour' Kapil Mishra does not seem to have received the memo.
To give a bit of context, the social media outrage began after a now viral poster claimed that BJP leader Kapil Mishra who had made a rather incendiary speech in the run-up to the riots was a guest of honour for the book launch. While there has been no official allegations or sanctions against him, many were startled at this gesture.
But if one looks at Mishra's Twitter feed, the book has just taken place, and he claims that the book is "public" now. How one can read it however remains a mystery as the publisher has withdrawn and the Amazon listing says that it is "currently unavailable".
Mishra's posts also do not indicate thus far that he is aware of the situation. Launch event organiser and BJP National General Secretary Bhupendra Yadav has also repeatedly tweeted about the book, without acknowledging Bloomsbury India's statement.
"Delhi Riot 2020: The Untold Story tells us the liberals are not fighting for right to freedom of expression but the freedom to speak anything they want even that which harms the country. The Delhi riots were an attempt to wage jihad against the Indian state," he wrote in one post.