Bloomsbury was publishing a new book titled Delhi Riots 2020, the book was supposed to hit the shelves in the month of September. But now, due to the backlash faced by the company, they have decided to withdraw the book. Bloomsbury gave a statement regarding this controversy and this is what they have to say:
“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. In view of very recent events, including a virtual pre-publication launch organized 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 backlash for the book started when the authors, announced a launch event with BJP leader Kapil Mishra among the “guests of honor”. The book has been authored by Delhi University teachers Prerna Malhotra and Sonali Chitalkar, and advocate Monika Arora.
In an email to Bloomsbury Sunday, the authors equated the Black Lives Matter protest in the US with their own experience, reminding the publishers that “Brown Lives Matter too”.
“You can kill the supply of the book but not the idea and not the truth. Bloomsbury may we tell you that Brown Lives Matter and Brown women matter too. We have the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression… On our behalf, please inform Bloomsbury UK not to succumb under international pressure of agenda-driven lobbies… If internationally Black Lives Matter then in India Brown lives matter too,” they wrote.
In their letter, the authors wrote that they were informed “on phone” that the book was being withdrawn “due to pressure from Bloomsbury UK, which in turn was pressurised (sic) by the social media campaign on Twitter”, but that no official communication to this effect had reached them yet.
They pointed out that the publishing house had “signed a contract with the authors”, communicated “over the past three months… through emails, SMS, WhatsApp” and “finalised the draft”. They also said the e-invite of the book launch was “out in public domain” and that Bloomsbury had “full knowledge of this book launch and the guest list”.
Arora said, “We waited but they have still not communicated to us, so we have decided to go ahead with Garuda (Prakashan).”