Human Rights

Kerala police raids Muslim book distributor

Apart from their own publications, Other Books distributes The Milli Gazette and books published by Pharos Media, including Who Killed Karkare? The Real face of terrorism in India.

Calicut: The office of the Other Books, a well-known book publisher and distributor, was raided on 6 August 2010. A team of police officers led by Calicut Assistant Police Commissioner, Showkath Ali and town police station S.I. Aneesh Joy came to Other Books office in the evening and raided the book stall and editorial office without any search warrant. The team comprised two officers from the cyber cell, half a dozen officers from IB, around 10 officers in uniform. They were accompanied by press-persons from print and visual media. They scanned Other Books' inbox and examined the titles and computers. The police, on the following day, told press-persons that they had not seized any incriminating data from Other Books office (The Hindu, 8 August 2010). The hard disk that the officers trawled out of Other Books computer is being examined at C-DAC, Thriuvanthapuram. They have not seized any data or books from the office during the raid, which lasted until night.

The reason for the raid, as the officers reported to the Other Books staff, was that an accused in an undisclosed case under the Aluva Police station limit, possessed a book and pamphlet whose publishers’ identity they wanted to establish. They wanted also to verify whether Other Books has any published documents with objectionable contents.

Other books publicationsSome newspapers cooked up stories regarding the raid. One headline and picture caption said: ‘Publishing house of Popular Front raided.’ As Other Books people could understand, the incident was part of the state-wide arrest of the activists of Popular Front of India (PFI), a Muslim socio-political organization, in connection with the attack on Prof. Joseph, who prepared a question paper insulting Prophet Muhammad.

Other Books was established as a distributor of non-mainstream academic books in 2003 and in 2006 it forayed into publishing. During these past four years, it has established itself as an independent publisher in the sense that it does not come under PFI or any other organizations and that it does not subscribe to the policy or outlook of other religious or political groups. The aim and policy of Other Books is to bring out and distribute quality books in the fields of subaltern studies, religious reform, post-modernism, women studies, West Asian politics etc. Other Books have also aimed to document the Mappila and Kerala Muslim history and Dalit and caste studies. One of Other Books titles, “Educational Empowerment of Kerala Muslims: A Socio-Historical Perspective” was published with a grant from the Indian Council for Historical Research. The authors whose books we have published, translated or are working on include Ziauddin Sardar, Amina Wadud, Tariq Ramdan, Susan Nathan, Ang Swee Chai, Ralph Shoemann, Rolland Miller, Andy Stern etc. Other Books has signed copyrights contracts with the world’s leading publishers such as Oxford University Press, Harper Collins, Orient Black Swan, Granta, Islamic Book Trust, Essentials, Islamic Text Society, International Institute for Islamic Thought, Chicago University Press etc. Leading authors in Kerala like Dr KN Panikkar, Dr MGS Narayanan, Paul Zacharia, Dr KKN Kurup, Dr KN Ganesh, Ninan Koshy and BRP Bhaskar have written for Other Books. Eminent scholars like AG Noorani have reviewed Other Books titles. Being deeply respectful to diverse theoretical positions, Other Books plans to bring out quality arguments and insightful analyses on subjects that are otherwise unheeded by mainstream publishers.

For more information on Other Books titles visit www.otherbooksonline.com or email otherbooks@post.com

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 September 2010 on page no. 11

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