Congress denies hand in action against Mistry book

Congress on Tuesday remained ambivalent on the controversy surrounding the withdrawal of Rohington Mistry`s Booker prize-nominated book `Such A Long Journey` from college syllabus following a demand by the Shiv Sena.

Last Updated: Oct 19, 2010, 21:12 PM IST

New Delhi: Congress on Tuesday remained ambivalent on the controversy surrounding the withdrawal of Rohington Mistry`s Booker prize-nominated book `Such A Long Journey` from college syllabus following a demand by the Shiv Sena.
Party spokesman Manish Tewari suggested that the
Congress led government in the state had no hand in the action
against the book by the Indian-born Canadian writer and the
decision was taken by the Bombay University.

“Bombay University is an autonomous organisation. It
is not under the Maharashtra governemnt...The Education
department in Maharashtra is held by the NCP..." he said in
reply to a volley of questions on the issue.

Asked about Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan`s
statement that the language in the book was "highly
objectionable" showed that it was the case of moral policing
and Congress and BJP appear sharing common views on this,
Tewari said, "Shiv Sena and Congress can never be on the same
page. Our idea of India is very different from their sectarian
approach."
The spokesman emphasised that sometimes on issues
which impinged on public order or communal amity, one has to
be circumspect and discreet.

At the same time, he maintained that it has been the
consistent stand of the Congress party that where public order
is not affected and something has not been done which outrages
public sentiments "one should refrain from exercising
restraint on any culture or literary freedom" as enshrined in
the Constitution.

Asked whether he expects such a restraint even from a
government ruled by a Congress led alliance, Tewari said, "We
would expect that every government be it Congress or
non-Congress whichever is there will uphold Constitutional
norms."

PTI