‘Worse than censorship’: Jairam Ramesh tears into Manipur plan to vet books

Congress MP Jairam Ramesh on Wednesday strongly reacted to the BJP-led Manipur government’s decision to mandate approval for all books to be published on the state’s history, culture, tradition and geography.

Ramesh tweeted: “This is Modi’s India where a BJP state govt appointed committee will decide which book can be published and which cannot. This is worse than censorship if such thing exists! Outrageous!”

In an order dated September 15, the higher and technical education department notified that the governor had constituted a 15-member committee for the purpose.

“It came to the government’s notice that some books published on the history, culture, tradition and geography of the state contain material which may either distort facts or disturb the peaceful coexistence amongst various communities,” said the order.

“Any person/groups desirous of publication of books on the history, culture, tradition and geography of the state may submit an application to the director, university and higher education, Manipur, along with a copy of the manuscript of the book, who shall place the matter before the committee for approval. The committee shall convene its meeting as and when required.”

The committee will be headed by Education Minister Th Basanta Singh and also have vice-chancellors as well as college and university teachers as members. The director of the university and higher education department will be its member-secretary.

Any book published without getting the committee’s go-ahead is “liable to be punished under the relevant law”, the order said, without specifying the legal provisions.

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