NBT chairman denies prejudice against book set in JNU

New Delhi, Jan 10 (IANS) A day after “Up Campus Down Campus”, a fictional narrative set in the 1980s in the JNU was denied permission to be read at the ongoing World Book Fair, the National Book Trust (NBT) Chairman said on Tuesday that the fair is not prejudiced against anyone.

“We provide opportunities based on the available slots and try to ensure maximum participation of authors and publishers. If one person is provided several opportunities, the others will be denied the same privilege,” Baldeo Bhai Sharma told IANS.

Published by Speaking Tiger, the book is an exuberant celebration of the uniqueness of the Jawaharlal Nehru University and was released last year, soon after several students were charged with “anti-national” activities.

NBT officials had reportedly informed the publishers that its director wanted to read the book. At the last moment, permission was denied without giving any reason.

“We do not hold any prejudice against any book, person, organisation or publisher. We are not prejudiced. We have only tried to ensure that the facilities here remain good and that everybody feels their participation,” said Sharma.

The author earlier took to social media to voice his concern.

“The book was one of the three that my publishers wanted to organise a discussion and reading on. NBT asked only for ‘Up Campus Down Campus’. Within a hour or two, they said, no. No explanation was given by NBT to the publisher.

“The present NBT chairman is a former editor of (RSS publication) Panchjanya. In the absence of explanation, I can only speculate on their act.

“First, the organisers didn’t want to give a platform to a novel on JNU for some reason in their mind. Second, AAP leader Ashutosh, my hostel mate then at Periyar, was the fellow discussant. We – the book and us – seem to be guilty by suspicion,” Ghosh wrote in a Facebook post.

–IANS

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