Delhi court refuses to stop publication, sale of Salman Khurshid’s new book: Why 'Sunrise over Ayodhya' is creating such a storm

A Delhi court on Wednesday refused to stop the publication, sale or circulation of former Union minister Salman Khurshid’s new book ‘Sunrise...

A Delhi court on Wednesday refused to stop the publication, sale or circulation of former Union minister Salman Khurshid’s new book ‘Sunrise over Ayodhya – Nationhood in our Times’.

In court, Additional Civil Judge Preeti Parewa said, "In the opinion of this court, neither a prima facie case nor any exceptional circumstance for grant of ad-interim ex-parte injunction in favour of the plaintiff is made out in the present case."

The court said that the author and publisher had the right to write and publish the book.

The court’s decision on Khurshid’s book comes two days after his house in Nainital was vandalised.

We examine what’s all the furore about.

Salman Khurshid’s new book

Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid recently launched his new book 'Sunrise over Ayodhya – Nationhood in our Times'.

The book deals with the Supreme Court’s 2019 verdict on the Ayodhya judgment. In an Indian Express editorial, Khurshid writes, "The thrust of the book is to promote religious harmony between Hindus and Muslims and highlight the Ayodhya judgment as an opportunity to find closure on the unpleasant past and look forward to a shared future."

However, for those wondering why that is an issue, it’s not.

Please read: Opinion | Normalising Islamist terror, the Salman Khurshid way

In fact, what has evoked such strong emotions against the book is a line in Chapter VI that makes a difference between Hinduism and Hindutva. The paragraph in the book reads: “Sanatan Dharma and classical Hinduism known to sages and saints were being pushed aside by a robust version of Hindutva, by all standards a political version similar to the jihadist Islam of groups like ISIS and Boko Haram of recent years.”

Asked to respond to the hate he’s received for his statement in the book, Khurshid, according to news agency PTI, said, “I have not called these guys terrorists, I have just said they are similar in distorting religion. What Hindutva has done, it has pushed aside Sanatan Dharma and Hinduism and it has taken over a robust, aggressive position similar to Boko Haram and those other guys."

Outrage against the book

The book, published by Penguin, has set off an uproar across the country, with political leaders and certain parts of the public up in arms against it.

Several of Khurshid's colleagues from the Congress disagreed with his views expressed in the book. Ghulam Nabi Azad had called the controversial portion of the book "factually wrong" and an "exaggeration."

"We may not agree with Hindutva as a political ideology but comparing it with ISIS and Jihadist Islam is factually wrong and exaggeration," Azad had been quoted as saying by NDTV.

The BJP accused him of hurting religious sentiments and demanded that he be sacked from the Congress.

Gaurav Bhatia, the BJP spokesperson, said, "If Sonia Gandhi respects Hindus, then she should come out and explain it. If you remain silent, then it will be clear that your ideology is also against Hindus."

Amit Malviya, the BJP's IT cell chief, highlighted the alleged comparison between Hindutva and “jihadist Islamist groups like ISIS and Boko Haram” and said in a tweet, “What else can we expect from someone whose party coined the term Saffron terror just to draw equivalence with Islamic jihad, to get Muslim votes?”

In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP government contemplated banning the book.

Home Minister Narottam Mishra criticised the book and accused Khurshid of targeting Hindutva and attempting to divide the majority community.

As per a PTI news report, Mishra said last Friday, "These people do not leave any opportunity to target Hindutva and divide Hindus on caste lines. After 'Bharat Tere Tukde Honge Inshallah Inshallah', Rahul Gandhi was the first to go there (on that path). Salman Khurshid is now taking forward the same idea."

Khurshid’s house vandalised

On 15 November, Salman Khurshid's residence in Uttarakhand's Nainital was vandalised by some people.

Sharing pictures and videos on Facebook, Khurshid wrote, "I hoped to open these doors to my friends who have left this calling card. Am I still wrong to say this cannot be Hinduism?"

"So such is the debate now. Shame is too ineffective a word. Besides I still hope that we can reason together one day and agree to disagree if not more," he wrote in another post.

Court case

In addition to the violence perpetrated at his house, two lawyers also filed a case against the senior Congress leader for allegedly defaming Hinduism. Advocate Vineet Jindal in his complaint said that the statement published in the said book is not only instigating and provoking but also stirring emotions among followers of the Hindu religion.

On Wednesday, a Delhi court refused to grant ex-parte injunction in a lawsuit seeking direction to stop the publication, circulation, and sale of Khurshid’s book.

Additional Civil Judge Preeti Parewa also said that the plaintiff had not been able to establish that inconvenience will be caused to him to avoid the book or alleged 'offensive' excerpts of the book. On the other hand, the injunction would lead to hardship for the publishers and also curtail the right of speech and expression of the author.

With inputs from agencies

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India World News: Delhi court refuses to stop publication, sale of Salman Khurshid’s new book: Why 'Sunrise over Ayodhya' is creating such a storm
Delhi court refuses to stop publication, sale of Salman Khurshid’s new book: Why 'Sunrise over Ayodhya' is creating such a storm
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