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Eminent authors ask Penguin to contest suit against The Hindus

New Delhi, Feb 23, 2014 (PTI): 21:33 IST
After Penguin India withdrew the copies of the controversial book 'The Hindus: An Alternative History', a group of eminent authors and historians today asked the publishing house to contest the suit against the book in a higher court for "holding up the freedom of expression."

Nine authors and historians, including Ashis Nandy and Romila Thapar, raised two demands in response to a notification by Penguin India on February 10 about its out-of-court settlement with the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti and agreement to cease publication, withdraw all copies and pulp remaining stock of the controversial book.

The authors demanded said that "The Penguin Random House contest the suit against The Hindus through the higher courts, to ensure that a strong precedent upholding freedom of expression be established."

In its second demand, it said that "lawmakers, jurists and the legal bureaucracy undertake a revision of the sections of the Indian Penal Code under which the suit was brought, so as to protect works of serious academic and artistic merit from motivated, malicious and frivolous litigation."

The group includes Nandy and Thapar along with Partha Chatterjee, Vinay Dharwadker, Martha Nussbaum, Laurie Patton, Sheldon Pollock, Arshia Sattar, David Shulman and Ananya Vajpeyi.

In a release, the group said, "We have received close to 3,500 signatures to the petition in 10 days, including from prominent scholars, writers, journalists and publishers around the world, as well as several Penguin authors."

"We are today forwarding the petition, along with all signatures collected thus far, to the management of Penguin India and to the appropriate authorities in the Government of India," it said.

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