Maharashtra to enact law to prevent defamation of national heroes

Mumbai, July 12 (Calcutta Tube) In the wake of state-wide protests over US author James Laine’s controversial book on Chhatrapati Shivaji, the Maharashtra government Monday announced plans to enact a law to prevent defamation of national heroes and iconic personalities.

Home Minister R.R. Patil informed the legislative assembly Monday evening about the proposal while replying to a debate on the topic following a Supreme Court ruling lifting the ban on Laine’s book, ‘Shivaji – A Hindu King In Islamic India’.

The bill, which would be enacted on the lines of a similar legislation in Tamil Nadu, would be tabled during the winter session of the state legislature in Nagpur during the year-end, Patil added.

The assembly witnessed three adjournments following a heated discussion and an uproar over the issue even as publisher, Oxford University Press assured the state government that it would not reprint copies of the controversial book.

The company’s managing director Manzar Khan has written to the state government about this, Patil informed the assembly.

‘OUP has no intention of coming out with a fresh publication of Laine’s book pursuant to the judgement of the Supreme Court. It has never been the intention of OUP to hurt the sentiments of any sections of our society,’ Khan said in his communication.

Patil expressed hope that following this assurance by the publishing house, the furore over the book should subside, and the state government would follow it up with legislation to deal sternly with persons defaming iconic personalities.

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