A Bengaluru city civil court on Monday stayed the publication of a book titled ‘Siddu Nija Kanasugalu’ after a petition was filed by Congress MLA Yathindra Siddaramaiah, son of opposition leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah.
Authored by Rohith Chakrathirtha, the book was to be released by Karnataka Higher Education Minister CN Ashwath Narayan on Monday afternoon and BJP MLC Chalavadi Narayanaswamy was the chief guest.
Chakrathirtha earlier headed the state textbook revision committee, which was disbanded by the government after protests against the new textbooks.
According to people aware of the development, the book contained writings about alleged “misgovernance” during the Siddaramaiah-led Congress rule in the state and its “politics of appeasement”.
It also reportedly highlights certain controversial and community-sensitive incidents during the former chief minister’s tenure.
The Karnataka Congress on Sunday filed a complaint at the SJ Park police station in Bengaluru, demanding that the police stop the release of the book at the city’s town hall on Monday.
Soorya Mukundaraj, general secretary of the State Congress Legal Cell, alleged in the complaint that the book contains defamatory, fictional, and provocative writings about Siddaramaiah.
Mukundaraj also said that the book has a distorted image of Siddaramaiah on the cover page.
Posters of the christening event scheduled for Monday showed copies of books with a picture of Siddaramaiah dressed in attire reminiscent of the 18th-century ruler of the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom, Tipu Sultan, with a sword on the cover.
According to the poster, Narayan was to publish the book.
“I appreciate the effort to find answers to many questions along with exposure to many sensitive issues through the book ‘Siddu Nijakanasugalu’. I will attend the public launch of this book,” Ashwath Narayan said on Twitter about the event on Sunday.
Attacking the BJP, Mukundaraj said the invitees have experience in sharing fake news on social media and targeting one particular community to disrupt law and order in the state.
“This time, the intention is also to inflame peace in the community by projecting Siddaramaiah in a certain way, which leads to communal disruption in the society,” Mukundaraj stated.
“If permission is granted for this program, it should be withdrawn and the organizers should be directed to cancel the book publishing program,” Mukundaraj further said in the complaint.
Meanwhile, Siddaramaiah on Monday said the book was meant to humiliate him ahead of the assembly elections in the state next year, calling it “disgraceful”.
“They are publishing a book to humiliate me before the elections. It is absolutely defamatory. I will see what will be done legally,” Siddaramaiah said.
“I don’t know, everything is yellow for those with yellow eyes. Who wore clothes like Tipu Sultan and held a sword in his hands? They were Yediyurappa and Shobha Karandlaje. Who wrote the foreword to Sheikh Ali’s book on Tip, isn’t it duality? Siddaramaiah asked, claiming that the BJP was behind the book.
BJP’s reply is awaited.