Only a week ago, Bloomsbury India decided to withdraw the publication of the book ‘Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story’ by authors of Monika Arora, Sonali Chitalkar and Prerna Malhotra. In a statement, the publication house cited a ‘virtual pre-publication launch organised without our knowledge by the authors’ as one of the reasons for its decision. Bloomsbury India said that they had planned to release the book, a factual account based on investigation and interviews conducted by the authors, in September 2020 but they have rescinded their decision.
Essentially, the publication house gave in to ‘liberal’ bullying and decided to withdraw the book which was about to go in to publication and was due to be released in September 2020.
Now, the publication is being accused of something far serious.
A manuscript of the book that was dropped by Bloomsbury has been doing the rounds on WhatsApp. Several netizens raised questions as to how the entire manuscript was illegally released and was not being circulated freely.
First page of the leaked PDF. It’s a Bloomsbury copy. pic.twitter.com/Ii7kFRGAJ0— Arihant (@haryannvi) August 28, 2020
Dear @advmonikaarora and @GarudaPrakashan PDF version of the #DelhiRiots2020UntoldStory is being circulated massively by some lobby. Definitely I see a malafide here. Please look into this. And quickly need to identify the source from where it leaked first.— Suresh N (@surnell) August 28, 2020
A perusal of the manuscript did indicate that it was the copy that was with Bloomsbury that was being freely and illegally circulated on WhatsApp.
The second page of the manuscript clearly says that it is a copy that is being published by Bloomsbury.
Interestingly, other than the authors, the publishing house and the editor, this manuscript in this form would not be available with anyone else. It is obvious that the authors would have no interest in leaking the manuscript thereby hurting the sales of the book which is now being published by Garuda Prakashan.
Thus, it does raise the question whether it is the publishing house that leaked the copy of the manuscript.
Interestingly, before the manuscript was circulated on WhatsApp, one of the first portals to access the manuscript was Left portal, TheQuint.com.
In its report that shoddily tried to ‘fact-check’ the book, The Quint clearly mentions that the manuscript of the book has been accessed by them.
TheQuint, in fact, specifically mentions that they have accessed and scanned the “Bloomsbury draft” of the book.
The question thus arises that how was TheQuint managed to access a confidential book manuscript in the first place when access to the manuscript was limited to the authors and the publication house. Even more curiously, the draft of this book was accessed by TheQuint after the book had gone into publication with Garuda Prakashan and the authors had served a legal notice to the publication house.
The needle of suspicion, according to many, obviously points towards Bloomsbury, the publication house that bent over to liberal pressure and dropped the book in breach of the contract it had signed with the authors.
It is pertinent to note that the ‘Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story’ book has been pre-ordered over 15,000 times after Gaurda Prakashan opened the booking platform.