Bloomsbury India on Saturday announced that it had withdrawn the publication of a book called Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story. The decision was a reaction to the storm of outrage that hit the publisher on Friday as it emerged that one of the people invited to attend an event to launch the book was Kapil Mishra.
Only in February, the Bharatiya Janata Party leader had delivered an ultimatum to the Delhi police to clear out people protesting against India’s new citizenship act or else his supporters would have to take action themselves. The Delhi riots started just a few hours later, with numerous instances of rioters directly – and positively – citing Mishra’s threat as their inspiration.
That Bloomsbury decided to withdraw publication of this book is not the real problem. But given that this is happening against the backdrop of people being jailed by the state for their political views, this debate has assumed a near-surreal quality.