"Will Get It Banned": Madhya Pradesh Minister On Salman Khurshid's Book

Salman Khurshid, whose book was also questioned by colleague Ghulam Nabi Azad, defended himself, telling PTI: "I have not called these guys terrorists..."

'Will Get It Banned': Madhya Pradesh Minister On Salman Khurshid's Book

Narottam Mishra is Madhya Pradesh Home Minister

Bhopal:

Congress leader Salman Khurshid's book on Ayodhya - specifically two lines comparing "Hindutva" with radical Islamist terror groups - has found a new critic in Madhya Pradesh minister Narottam Mishra.

Mr Mishra has slammed Mr Khurshid's new book, calling it "condemnable" and hitting out at those who "don't leave an opportunity to divide Hindus or divide our country".

"Salman Khurshid's book is condemnable. They don't leave an opportunity to divide Hindus into castes or to divide our county... Was Rahul Gandhi not the first to go to those who said 'Bharat tere tukde honge'? Salman Khurshid is working on the same agenda," Mr Mishra told reporters.

The reference was to Congress leader Kanhaiya Kumar and the rally he addressed in Delhi five years ago (when he was a student at JNU), at which the slogan was allegedly chanted.

"What (former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister) Kamal Nath said - 'it's not 'mahan Bharat but badnam Bharat (not a great country but an infamous one)'. This is a part of the same thought process. They just want Hindus to get divided. It is a way to attack our faith. The Supreme Court said 'Hindutva' is a way of life... then what's there to question?" he asked.

A row has exploded over Mr Khurshid's book - 'Sunrise Over Ayodhya: Nationhood in Our Times'.

And with elections due in seven states next year, including the politically key Uttar Pradesh and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat, the BJP has jumped on the chance to attack the Congress, accusing it of playing "communal politics" to get Muslim votes.

Mr Khurshid, whose book was also questioned by colleague Ghulam Nabi Azad, told news agency PTI: "I have not called these guys terrorists, I have just said they are similar in distorting religion."

Apparently unconvinced, Mr Mishra has added the book to a growing list of content he has deemed "objectionable" and would like to see banned. "I will consult law experts in Madhya Pradesh and get this book banned in the State," he said.

That list includes a jewelry collection by a designer Sabyasachi and an ad by Dabur, one of India's biggest consumer brands, both of which have been targeted by BJP leaders in the past two months.

The jewelry collection and the ad, like another by clothing brand Fabindia, have been withdrawn following vicious trolling online and critical comments by BJP leaders, including Mr Mishra.

In October Mr Mishra also stopped just short of defending violence on the sets of a web series directed by Bollywood filmmaker Prakash Jha; the minister objected to the series name - 'Ashram'.

One of the main accused in that attack is a Bajrang Dal leader convicted of murder, NDTV has found.

With input from PTI

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