Gwalior: Madhya Pradesh police on Tuesday detained a Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader for selling a book on the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A in Jammu & Kashmir. The book was being sold during a protest organised by the minority wing of CPI(M) – Muslim Adhikar Manch – to clean the Sagar Taal ahead of Muharram and Ganesh Puja.
The Padav Police station in-charge Prashant Kumar Yadav detained Sheikh Ghani, 63, a retired BSNL officer and member of the CPI (M) district committee, who was selling the book. This was triggered by a tweet made by the media in-charge of Madhya Pradesh BJP Lokendra Parashar, who is also the editor of Gwalior Hindi daily Swadesh Newspaper
Parashar tweeted, “At Gwalior’s Phulbhag Chouraha, an objectionable book based on Article 370 is being sold. I urge the district administration and Government to launch a probe and take action.” Following the tweet, the police arrested the left leader.
The book titled ‘Dhara 370 – Setu ya Surang’ was written by CPI (M) state chief Jaswinder Singh, to highlight the effects of abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A in Jammu & Kashmir. The book also talks about how the federal structure is being destroyed by the union government in the state. The book also has a write-up by CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, based on his recent visit to Kashmir. The book costs only Rs 10, and more than 15,000 copies have been sold in last week, informed author Jaswinder Singh.
The Padav police in-charge released Sheikh Ghani when CPI(M) leaders and workers reached police station a couple of hours after the detention, asking for the reason behind the action. “Police interrogated me about the book I was selling. I simply put the book in front of the officer. After reading couple of pages he started laughing,” said Ghani.
When contacted, the inspector said, “We had detained Ghani to interrogate him about the book after the tip of objectionable content, but the book is being sold across the state. Ghani was not doing anything different, and there is nothing objectionable in his actions. No case has been registered against him.”
On Wednesday afternoon, the CPI (M) leader held a press conference accusing Gwalior police of unlawful detention. Commenting on the issue, author Jaswinder Singh said, “Nothing is objectionable in the book. The book describes the history of article 370 and 35A and how important it is for J&K, and how it has been unlawfully struck down by the Union Government, in the process undermining the federal structure of India.”
“After publication, I gifted the book to Chief Minister Kamal Nath and all senior leaders and ministers, but no one found it objectionable, except the BJP media in-charge and Gwalior SP, who ordered the arrest,” he claimed. Senior CPI(M) leader Badal Saroj said, “We have planned to launch an aggressive campaign to sell the book across the during next two days.”