History researchers in Pune and the local hard-line group, Sambhaji Brigade, slammed the Supreme Court decision to lift the ban on the controversial book, ‘Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India’ written by American author James Laine.
While the Sambhaji Brigade threatened demonstrations across the state, history researchers said that the ban must never be lifted.
The book published in 2003 had raised a furore in Pune and other parts of Maharashtra when history researchers in Pune claimed that several sections of the book showed Chhatrapati Shivaji in poor light.
The state government subsequently banned the book in 2004 and the matter was heard, first in the Bombay High court and later in the Supreme Court.
Pune-based history researcher, Pandurang Balkawade, said, “We fail to understand, why, despite fool-proof evidence, the state government failed to make any headway in the courts. We feel the evidence was not used at all.”
Meanwhile, the Sambhaji Brigade which had attacked and vandalised the property of the Pune-based Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (Bori) in 2004 as they believed that Laine had used the Bori library to research the book, were vociferous in their protest over the Supreme Court ruling of Friday.
Sambhaji Brigade, Pune district president, Vikas Pasalkar, told DNA, “The Supreme Court ruling has hurt the sentiments of Maharashtrians. The state government has failed miserably in protecting the image of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in court. We will launch rasta rokos and demonstrations across the state.”