Maha Govt Wants Ban on Book on Shivaji to Continue

Maha Govt Wants Ban on Book on Shivaji to Continue
Maharashtra Government today said it favoured continuation of the ban on US author James Laine's controversial biography of Shivaji Maharaj and was seeking legal opinion after the Supreme Court turned down its plea in this regard.

"I personally and the state government also, feel that the ban should continue.... We are seeking opinion of legal experts on approaching the court to ensure the ban continues," Home Minister R R Patil said here

"We are awaiting a detailed copy of the Supreme Court ruling on lifting the ban," Patil said. The book, Shivaji, Hindu King in Muslim India, allegedly having derogatory comments on the Maratha king, has been at the centre of a controversy.

The apex court today upheld the decision of the Bombay High Court to lift the ban on the book by American author James Laine, which, according to the state government, contained material promoting social enmity.

MNS chief Raj Thackeray warned against selling the controversial book. "Let them dare to keep the books in the stalls. We would deal with it in MNS style," Raj said.

On Raj's warning against sale of the book, Patil said he had nothing to say on the MNS chief's remarks. "We feel the book should be banned," the minister said.

In 2007, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray ordered party workers to burn Laine's biography of Shivaji. "If this book comes out in the market, burn it wherever you find it. This is my order," Thackeray had said.

The book was banned in 2004 following violent protests and ransacking of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune, where Laine had done some of his research.

Maharashtra police had filed an FIR against Laine for "defaming" Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji and "attempting to disturb the communal peace and harmony" through his controversial book.

In 2005, the Supreme Court stayed the probe by the Mumbai police against Laine and the Oxford Printing Press.

In 2007, the Supreme Court quashed criminal proceedings against Laine.

The book was released in India in 2003, but it had to be withdrawn from circulation subsequently in the wake of strong protests.
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