The Congress hit out at Spanish author Javier Moro, who accused it of trying to terrorise Indian publishers against bringing out his book on Sonia Gandhi, calling him “a perpetrator who is pretending to be a victim”.
“Moro is exploiting somebody’s privacy for personal commercial gains and money and then talking of censorship and freedom of expression. He is worse than a devil quoting scriptures,” said party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi.
With Gandhi’s consent, Singhvi had sent a legal notice to Moro for purveying “untruths, half truths, falsehoods and defamatory statements” on at least 20 counts in his fictionalised biography, The Red Sari, written in Spanish and translated in Italian, French and Dutch. “But there was a deafening silence,” he said, adding that the right to exercise legal procedure would be exercised if the book is published in India.
Singhvi said that Moro backed out of a disclaimer — that the book did not have Gandhi’s consent — as he did not want to include it in other mediums like films.
Singhvi said that by calling his book a fictionalised work, Moro had admitted to defamation as such a book on a living person must either be factual or have the person’s consent.
As for the BJP’s charge that it was transgressing freedom of speech, Singhvi recalled how the saffron party had expelled Jaswant Singh for his book on M.A. Jinnah, protested against M.F. Husain’s paintings and stopped the screening of Parzania in Gujarat.
Singhvi, meanwhile, played down Haryana Chief Minster B.S. Hooda’s comments on khap panchayats and against same-gotra marriages as “his personal views” made in a social context.
“It doesn’t mean that he is supporting violation of any law,” he said, adding that the party was against any coercion on personal or social issues.