The authors of the controversial book “Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story”, Monika Arora, Sonali Chitalkar, and Prerna Malhotra filed a complaint with the police on Thursday. The complaint has been filed against publishing house Bloomsbury, some media organizations, and noted individuals, alleging cheating, mischief, misappropriation of property, and criminal intimidation by them.
The authors met Delhi Commissioner of Police S N Shrivastava with their complaint and sought “immediate and necessary action” against those named in it. The complaint accused professor-activist Nandini Sundar and news portals The Print and Newslaundry of “illegal receipt and retention of stolen property”, and several noted individuals, including historian William Dalrymple and author Aatish Taseer, of “criminal intimidation and (making) statements creating and promoting enmity, hatred, and ill will between classes”.
The book, authored by advocate Monika Arora and professors Sonali Chitalkar and Prerna Malhotra, got embroiled in a controversy for inviting BJP leader Kapil Mishra as a guest of honor on its launch on August 22. There have been allegations that several leaders, including Mr. Mishra, made inflammatory speeches targeting anti-citizenship law protesters before the violence broke out in Northeast Delhi on February 23.
Later, Bloomsbury after facing a massive backlash on social media withdrew itself from the book, saying the virtual launch was “organised without its knowledge”. The book found a new publishing house in Garuda Prakashan the very next day.
According to the complaint, signed by Ms Arora, Bloomsbury “wilfully with dishonest intentions expunged her work and also leaked a PDF version of the book in public to hamper any future sales. The present complaint seeks investigation… for being the publisher of my authored book and having deliberately, willfully with dishonest intentions expunged my work, effort and skill thereby diminishing my goodwill, reputation and standing, without my knowledge and consent rescinded from performing its obligations under the terms of the agreement dated 29.5.2020 and leaked a PDF version of the book in public to hamper any future sales,” read the complaint.
Contrary to what Bloomsbury India had claimed, the complaint said that an e-poster of the book launch event in question with the list of “confirmed speakers” was sent to the publishing house and that they had acknowledged it too. It alleged that the publishers withdrew only after being pressured by its parent company Bloomsbury UK.
In the complaint, Ms Arora claimed that a “venomous campaign” emerged on the social media and a “group of individuals/ propagandists”, whom she referred to as “Urban Naxal Gang”, “conspired and went all out to kill the book by pressurizing, intimidating, bullying and blackmailing the publishers”.