A book signing event in Kolkata, Bengal has apparently turned into a political war of words between the filmmaker and author and the Trinamool Congress. It started when Vivek Agnihotri revealed that he had moved his book signing From Quest Mall in Ballygunge to South City Mall because “it’s a Muslim area” and “it’s not safe.”
He will now sign his book Urban Naxals at South City Mall in Jadavpur.
On Twitter, Vivek Agnihotri shared, “This is to inform you that for security reasons the Urban Naxals book signing venue has been changed from Quest Mall to Starmark Book Shop, South City Mall. I am informed that from Quest Mall it’s a Muslim area, it’s not safe. The tragedy of modern Bengal.”
Reacting to his decision, the head of the BJP’s information technology cell, Amit Malviya, shared a video of locals “taking control” of Quest Mall after the power went out. “Not surprising. Earlier this week, local Muslim residents stormed Sanjeev Goenka’s legendary Quest Mall featuring major London brands, demanding to be allowed to ‘take shelter’ in the mall as Kolkata reeled under a wave of “hot. Goenka couldn’t do anything. Police did nothing,” he tweeted.
While Malviya claimed on Thursday that no action was taken by the police, TOI quoted Quest Mall Vice President Sanjeev Mehra as saying “there was no lack of police cooperation.” Mehra said that the situation [of people entering after mall hours] it was undesirable, but it was humanitarian. A video of the incident that occurred on Sunday has gone viral.
A few hours after the initial tweet, Agnihotri posted another tweet saying: “It is a very tragic and alarming situation that in India an Indian author is not allowed to enter an Indian shopping mall because that area is dominated by Muslim Indians. Mamata Banerjee has officially allowed them to illegally hijack a mall. Ironically, the book is #UrbanNaxals.”
Shortly after Vivek Agnihotri announced the change of venue, Ballygunge MLA Babul Supriyo tweeted: “Dear Vivek Agnihotri, you are a film fraternity colleague of mine and your wife Pallaviji is well known to me for a long time. Quest Mall is in my MLA constituency, Ballygunge. I am disturbed to learn that you have moved your event from there for the reasons you mentioned.”
To this the Agnihotri responded, seeking to know if Supriyo would take care of his safety. He tweeted: “The event was moved for security reasons. I was told that it is a Muslim area (in a secular country) and it is not safe for me to sign my #UrbanNaxals book there. As an MLA, can you guarantee my safety? Or? Even you are defenseless like me?”