A controversy has broken out following media reports on the alleged screening of Urdu books requested by jailed Pakistani virologist Dr Khalil Chisty, 79, who is currently lodged in Ajmer Central Jail.
His family has denied the reports, but before that, noted script writer-lyricist Javed Akhtar said, “Urdu books should be allowed freely in jails. I have spoken to Rajasthan’s director general of jails Omendra Bharadwaj, who told me they do not deny Urdu books inside jails but get them scrutinised by the Intelligence Bureau and it sometimes takes time.”
“Has Urdu become a language of terrorists? ” he said, adding that he had nothing to do with the Chisty case but was angered at this discriminatory treatment to the Urdu language. Akhtar also questioned if the dearth of Urdu scholars in Ajmer was a reason behind the long-drawn process.
Dr Chisty’s family, however, denied the reports. “Our father did not ask for Urdu books. We gave an English version of Akbarnama and two other books to Abba as he prefers English,” clarified Dr Chisty’s daughter Shoa Jawaid.
When contacted, Bharadwaj clarified that books are scrutinised for contents, and language is no basis for denying permission of books.
Dr Chisty was visiting his mother in Ajmer in 1992, when he got embroiled in a family feud that resulted in a murder, eventually leading to his arrest.