In response to the notification on February 10, 2014 of Penguin India’s out-of-court settlement with the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti and agreement to cease publication, withdraw all copies and pulp remaining stock of The Hindus: An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger, the undersigned initiated a petition on Change.org on February 13, raising two demands:
- That Penguin Random House contest the suit against The Hindus through the higher courts, to ensure that a strong precedent upholding freedom of expression be established;
- That lawmakers, jurists and the legal bureaucracy undertake a revision of the sections of the Indian Penal Code under which the suit was brought (IPC 153A, 295A), so as to protect works of serious academic and artistic merit from motivated, malicious and frivolous litigation.
We have received close to 3,500 signatures to the petition in 10 days, including from prominent scholars, writers, journalists and publishers around the world, as well as several Penguin authors (names available on request). We are today forwarding the petition, along with all signatures collected thus far, to the management of Penguin India and to the appropriate authorities in the Government of India. The full text of the petition will also remain up on the Change.org site to continue accumulating signatures.
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