Freedom of Expression? Twitter irked as Bloomsbury India drops 'Delhi Riots 2020'

Bloomsbury India has been making headlines since Friday afternoon, when a poster for a book launch went viral. The book in question, called Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story' was slated to be published today, and the poster had mentioned that BJP leader Kapil Mishra was a guest of honour.

For those who remain blissfully unaware of the controversy and the reasons behind it, Mishra had made a rather incendiary speech in the days leading up to the February clashes that saw more than 50 killed. And while no formal charges have been brought against him, many were irked by the choice. Bloomberg for its part had tried to distance itself from the controversy, stating that the launch event was not being endorsed by it.

Eventually, on Saturday afternoon, the organisation withdrew publication of the book. "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," the company said.

Thus, even as the launch event was held, and many hailed the book, it no longer had a publisher. Needless to say, the situation has irked many on social media platforms. While some derided the concept of 'Freedom of Expression' in context with the withdrawal, others noted that Bloomsbury India's actions over the last two days had given the book massive publicity -- perhaps much more than it would have received otherwise.

While a part of Twitter hailed the decision, many seemed to be of the opinion that "all books deserve to be published". After all, one did not have to read them if they did not wish to.

Take a look at some of the posts:

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

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