Indian writer sued over Hindutva-jihad comparison


A criminal complaint was registered Nov. 12¬†against Indian politician and former union minister Salman Khurshid over statements made in his recent book Sunrise over Ayodhya:¬†Nationhood in Our Times.¬†The complaint was filed under Sections 153 and 295A of the Indian Penal Code,¬†which protect “religious sentiments.” The complaint, filed by¬†lawyer¬†Bharat Sharma¬†at a Jaipur police station, alleges¬†that Khurshid offended the religious sentiments of Hindus by comparing Hindutva (or Hindu nationalism) with the ideology of terror groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram.

Khurshid’s book on the Ayodhya holy site¬†dispute created an uproar upon its release last week. In chapter six, titled “Saffron Sky,”¬†he writes:

Sanatan dharma and classical Hinduism known to sages and saints was 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.

Two Delhi lawyers have also filed a criminal complaint against Khurshid, accusing him of “legitimising the radical elements of ISIS by creating an artificial equivalence with Hindus,”¬†and promoting enmity between Hindus and Muslims in the country. The police will now be required to investigate this matter and determine whether to proceed with charges¬†against Khurshid.

On his part, Khurshid has rebutted the allegations made in the complaint, saying that his book is meant to promote Hindu-Muslim unity and make readers understand that the recent Supreme Court judgment on the Ayodhya dispute is “a good verdict.”

Hindutva groups have been¬†calling for the banning of the book for “demonising the Hindu religion.”¬†Vishnu Gupta, president of Hindu Sena militant organization, has filed a suit before the Patiala House court in Delhi seeking a prohibitory injunction to stop the publication, sale, circulation, and distribution of the book.

From Jurist, Nov. 13. Used with permission.

See our last posts on the Ayodhya dispute and Salman Khurshid.

  1. Hindu temple consecrated at contested Ayodhya site

    The Ram Mandir temple was consecrated at Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh,¬†in a nationally-broadcast ceremony led by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Jan. 22.¬†One day earlier, the Bombay High Court¬†dismissed a “public interest litigation”¬†challenging the decision of the Maharashtra government to declare a public holiday to mark the consecration ceremony.

    The Maharashtra government announced a public holiday days before te sceduled consecration. Several other states, including Goa, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh also declared holidays for the occasion. (Jurist)

    In a seeming move to head of a similar dispute, the Indian Supreme Court on Jan. 16 halted a survey of the Shahi Eidgah mosque in Uttar Pradesh to determine presence of Hindu relics. The Shahi Eidgah mosque, within the Krishna Janmasthan Temple Complex, is claimed to be built on the birthplace of the Hindu god Krishna. (Jurist)

  2. India: five killed in protest over mosque demolition

    At least five people have been killed and dozens others injured during a protest sparked by the demolition of a mosque and a religious school in India. Municipal authorities in Haldwani town in the northern state of Uttarakhand bulldozed the buildings Feb. 8, saying they had been built without permission. Police said Muslims torched vehicles and threw stones at them in the protest that followed, prompting them to fire live ammunition and tear gas in response. (Al Jazeera)