The Madhya Pradesh government has blacklisted a book, which allegedly describes a tribe as killers of cows. The government has also blacklisted its author.
The book ‘Bharat ka Bhugol’ (Geography of India) is prescribed for postgraduation course and allegedly describes Gond tribals of Madhya Pradesh as killers of cows and consumers of cow meat.
On March 22, the issue rocked the assembly, later, Higher Education Minister Jaibhan Singh Powaiya clarified that the book has been published by a private publisher and not the government. However, he ruled out action against the writer or a ban on the book.
Madhya Pradesh government spokesman Narottam Mishra said that the writer, Harish Kumar Khatri, as well as the publisher have also been blacklisted.
Khatri claims that the controversial paragraph in the book appeared in the 2013 edition and that they removed it in a revised edition. He added that they have tried their best to replace as many copies of the 2013 edition and now he is scared for his life.
The government acted after opposition leader Ajay Singh raised the issue in the state assembly. Singh said that the description was an insult to the Gond tribal community.
The controversial portion in book said that ‘Gond’ word refers to different tribal groups living in the plains and mountains of south-eastern districts of Madhya Pradesh. It added that the Gond tribals feel insulted by the word and prefer to call themselves ‘Koi’ or ‘Koitur’.
In the preface, the writer had claimed that the book is based on Master of Arts syllabus of various universities in the state. The writer claimed that Gonds eat everything from cows, pigs, crocodiles, snakes and rats among other animals.