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Arun Shourie Flays 'Political Censorship'

PTI 09 Jan 2010, 22:25:37 IST

Senior journalist and BJP leader Arun Shourie on Saturday  opposed banning of books and films, saying this was against the idea of free Press. 

"Any political party or leader who raised their hand against the Press... the hand was burnt and they had to rescind their move," Shourie told reporters at a function to release his 25th book "We Must Have No Price and Everyone Must Know We Have No Price." 

Citing the James Laine case in Maharashtra, Shourie said "a book on Shivaji Maharaj written by Laine became controversial. Bhandarkar Institute in Pune was attacked and many manuscripts were destroyed." 

"I and Atal Behari Vajpayee came here to unveil the statue of Shivaji Maharaj at airport. Balasaheb (Sena chief Bal Thackeray) was at the function. Vajpayee said another book is the only answer for the Laine book, not destruction of property," he said. 

Shourie was replying to a query on the 'political censorship' in the backdrop of a senior Maharashtra politician's son forcing makers of Marathi movie 'Zenda' to postpone its release, saying it contained scenes that showed his father, a former Chief Minister, in poor light. 

Bombay High Court struck down a ban on the book 'Gandhi Hatya Ani Mee'(Gandhi's Assassination and I), written by Gopal Godse, Shourie said. 

"There is a Supreme Court judgment on the issue of baning books. The Court said prospect of disorder is no reason to ban a book or film." 

"There was a film in Tamil Nadu against reservations. DMK and AIADMK said they will burn the film, so the Tamil Nadu Government banned it. In this case, the apex court said we have to protect the right of free speech," he said. PTI