Book row: Khurshid stands by his views on Hindutva


NEW DELHI: An injunction suit has been filed before a Delhi court seeking to stop the publication, circulation, and sale of ex-Union minister Salman Khurshid’s book for allegedly hurting the sentiments of a large section of society, the lawyer of the complainant said on Saturday.

The suit was filed by right-wing group Hindu Sena’s president Vishnu Gupta.

Senior Congress leader Khurshid has sparked controversy by reportedly comparing a “robust version” of Hindutva to the jihadist Islam of terror groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram in his book ‘Sunrise Over Ayodhya: Nationhood in Our Times’.

Gupta’s counsel Akshay Aggarwal and Sushant Prakash claimed that the book’s launch event before the assembly election in Uttar Pradesh, slated for early next year, was aimed at polarising and gaining the votes of the minorities.

The petition seeks prohibitory injunction against the publication, distribution, circulation and sale of the book and also ban it “in the larger interest of the society and country”.

The Hindu Sena on Friday demanded a ban on the book, alleging that Khurshid’s statement harms social integrity and hurts the religious sentiments of Hindus.

In a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Hindu Sena president Vishnu Gupta said the comparison made in the book is an attempt to demonise the Hindu religion.

Khurshid’s comments in his book have sparked a row with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday maintained that Hinduism and Hindutva are “different things” and slammed the ideology of the BJP-RSS alleging it has spread hatred in India, drawing a sharp retort from the BJP which claimed that the Congress leadership nurses a “pathological hatred” for Hinduism.

Khurshid, who stood by his remarks made in his new book on the Ayodhya verdict, had come under attack on Thursday from the BJP as well as his party colleague Ghulam Nabi Azad.

The opposition BJP in Chhattisgarh on Saturday submitted a complaint to Raipur police seeking registration of an FIR against Congress leader Salman Khurshid for allegedly hurting religious sentiments by comparing Hindutva to radical jihadist groups like ISIS and Boko Haram in his recently released book.

The party also sought registration of a case against senior Congress leaders P Chidambaram and Digvijaya Singh for taking part in the book release function and, thereby, supporting Khurshid’s act.

BJP MLAs Brijmohan Agarwal, Ajay Chandrakar, Shivratan Sharma and Narayan Chandel and Rajya Sabha MP Ramvichar Netam submitted the complaint in Civil Lines police station.

“We have received a complaint from BJP leaders and further action will be taken after investigation,” said Satyaprakash Tiwari, Station House Officer (SHO) of Civil Lines police station.

In the complaint, BJP leaders claimed Khurshid, in his book ‘Sunrise over Ayodhya, Nationhood in Our Times’, has compared Hindutva to Islamist terror groups like ISIS and Boko Haram and this was an insult of Hinduism.

The BJP claimed on Saturday that India was partially a “Muslim nation” when it was in power as sharia provisions were then part of the legal system and measures were taken to give them primacy even over Supreme Court judgment.

BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi alleged that the violence in Maharashtra over the “false” news of mosques being targeted in Tripura and Congress leaders’ comments attacking Hindutva were part of a conspiracy.

Attacking Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, he wondered if the opposition leader was training his party workers in Maharashtra in defaming Hindutva and driving an organised campaign to stole communal discord and violence.

It was during his speech via video conferencing to Congress workers at a training camp in the state that Gandhi had sought to draw a distinction between Hinduism and Hindutva, and had attacked the latter.

The BJP has been on the offensive after Congress leader Salman Khurshid compared Hindutva, a term associated with the RSS-BJP ideology, with terrorist Islamist organisations.

Noting that Shivaji’s rule was also associated with Hinduism, Trivedi said leaders like Rahul Gandhi cannot comprehend the concept and asked him to read up his own party stalwarts like Mahatma Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Jawaharlal Nehru.

Nehru, he added, had written that the word ‘Hindu’ can be understood in the broader context of Indian identity and should not be seen narrowly.

“Under the Congress rule India was partially a Muslim nation. I am saying so because sharia provisions were part of the constitutional system,” the BJP leader said, referring to the practice like instant talaq, now barred, and grant of Haj subsidy, since discontinued.

“Supreme Court judgment was overruled to give primacy to sharia provisions,” Trivedi said in an apparent reference to the Rajiv Gandhi government bringing a law to override an apex court order in the famous Shah Bano case.

He took a swipe at Congress leaders for giving their “wisdom” on Hinduism and referred to their use of terms like Hindu Taliban and Hindi terrorism to hit out at them.

These are the same people who do not want a proud India to bloom in all its glory, and are trying to stop its rise, he claimed.