New Delhi: Publisher Bloomsbury India said on Saturday it was withdrawing the publication of its book "Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story" planned for September "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."
"Bloomsbury India strongly supports freedom of speech but also has a deep sense of responsibility towards society," the publisher said in a statement.
"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 statement said.
A storm had been brewing since late Friday after a purported invitation on social media, with the Bloomsbury logo at its bottom left, stated that BJP General Secretary Bhupendra Yadav would launch the book with party leader Kapil Mishra , besides authors Monica Arora, Sonali Chitalkar and Prerna Malhotra, as also filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri, among others, attending the virtual event.
Bhupendra Yadav had claimed in twitter that 'the Delhi riots were an attempt to wage jihad against the Indian state'.
He had also claimed that the book 'Delhi Riot 2020: The Untold Story'makes an important point about finding the real culprits of the Delhi riots about who funded the riots.
In response to the event, Bloomsbury issued a statement on Friday evening denying it was involved in the launch, saying: "Bloomsbury India is publishing the book Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story by advocate Monica Arora, Sonali Chitalkar, Prerna Malhotra in September 2020. We are not organising any launch event for the book tomorrow (Saturday) and there are no events being planned yet. If you have come across any event information for the above book, please note it is not being organized or sponsored by Bloomsbury India,"
Responding to the storm, Kapil Mishra tweeted: "India and the world will read it and know the Truth of Anti Hindu Delhi Riots
"At least 53 people lost their lives in the riots and they deserve better than this. Those who made inciting speeches or were held responsible for the violence as per the account of several victims, should be investigated for their roles and not allowed to use platforms to further their agenda. Bloomsbury said that their logo was inappropriately used but the fact is that they published the book and this, to me, amounts to further lowering of standards in public life," Advocate Rebecca John, who has represented several of those accused in various cases related to the Delhi riots, has been quoted as saying.