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Hindu group protests against Kashmir book at Agartala book fair

Agartala, Feb 15: Tripura’s Information and Cultural Affairs Minister Bhanulal Saha on Wednesday said the government will not tolerate protests at a book fair, after a Hindutva group shouted slogans and demonstrated against a book on Jammu and Kashmir at the fair. Around 20 people belonging to ‘Tripura Vivekanda Juba Se’ shouted and carried the tiol flag inside the Agartala Book Fair ground here on Tuesday night, for allegedly portraying the Indian Army in a poor light. “We will not tolerate such kind of protest inside the book fair ground. Such happenings have never been witnessed in the Agartala book fair for the past 36 years,” the Minister told the media. The Minister said the people of Tripura are not used to such “intolerance”. The book “Kashmir”, published in 1998 by Kolkata-based Progressive Publishers and written by Sidhartha Guha Roy, rrates the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the role of the Army.

Tripura Sanskriti Samany Kendra, a socio-cultural body, Vice-President Gautam Das condemned the incident and said that since 1981 people of the state have never seen such kind of “faticism”. Local newspapers said the Tripura Vivekanda Juba Se is close to the Bharatiya Jata Party (BJP). Se spokesman Jaydip Chakraborty said the book’s author “wrote against the Indian Army and Indian government”, the reason why they organised such a protest. Tripura BJP spokesman Victor Shome denied the party had any links with the right wing group. He said: “Tripura Vivekanda Juba Se might be a local organisation and has no relation with BJP. However, we support the cause of the protest as the Indian Army has been termed as terrorist in the book.” The publishers said that since publication of the book in 1998, no one had objected against it and its content. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita