Two of Kashmir’s leading newspapers, Kashmir Times and Rising Kashmir said that Jammu and Kashmir police raided their office on Saturday night, seized their printed copies and arrested their employees – a clear act of choking and gagging media in crisis-hit Kashmir valley. Copies of other newspapers, including Kashmir Reader and Kashmir Observer were also seized and their circulation prevented.
This post is co-authored by Aarti Sethi and Shuddhabrata Sengupta
Dinanath Batra is at it again. Not content with having bullied Penguin and Aleph into withdrawing Wendy Doniger’s “The Hindus: An Alternative History”, and “On Hinduism”, respectively, he has now trained his guns on Orient Blackswan. And, in what seems to be emerging as a frighteningly predictable pattern, Orient Blackswan has succumbed to Dinanath Batra’s “legal suits”, not just by agreeing to consider the withdrawal of a book that had attracted Batra’s attention, but also by withdrawing another book, on sexual violence during communal riots in Gujarat, as a ‘preventive measure’ regardless of the fact that it had not even been targeted by Batra and his organization. Clearly these are interesting times for publishing in India.
There is no need to rehash arguments on the importance of free speech and the circulation of books and words and texts. These have been extensively discussed here on Kafila, and everywhere else. At this stage it might be useful to simply clarify some pressing “legal” matters as there seems to be a bewildering confusion rife amongst publishers as to what exactly a legal notice is. Thus, to begin:
This has been done in response to please entered by a ‘journalist’, a certain Mr. Vinay Rai, and a certain Mufti Aijaz Arshad Qasmi, who also delivers online fatwas on a variety of subjects, ranging from the very intimate to the magnificently cosmic. It is wonderful to behold the learned court acting with such sensitivity to the joint plea of two honorable Hindu-Muslim worthies. Hindu-Muslim-Sikh-Isai – busybodies of every stripe seem to have little other work to do than police and control what can and cannot be said online, shown in a film, performed in a play or depicted in an art work. And our ‘secular’ civil society, and the lower ranks of the judiciary faithfully acquiesce to their every demand. Continue reading Why ban just a Facebook page when you can erase a holy book or two (or more)?→