On October 9, Union Minister Jitendra Singh launched a book titled In the Times of Article 370. “In a rare ceremony of its kind, released a book on #Article370 written by Ayanna Kohli, a 14 year Delhi school girl,” Singh tweeted.
Article 370 of the Indian Constitution described the arrangements for Jammu and Kashmir’s special status within the Indian republic. On August 5, in a controversial decision, the Bharatiya Janata Party unilaterally hollowed it out.
The BJP MP had put out another tweet on the book where he wrote, “Even children, across the country, celebrating abrogation of #Article370.” Singh later took down this tweet for reasons that are unclear.
The book release was also covered by several media agencies. ANI reported that Singh had released a book on Article 370 written by a 14-year-old girl, Ayanna Kohli. Providing apurported synopsis of the book, ANI said that it “seeks to draw the inference that it was necessary to revoke Article 370 in order to bring lasting peace in Kashmir”.
The news agency quoted the girl as saying, “In the last two months, I have travelled across the country, I can say the decision to abrogate Article 370 has been celebrated by each Indian.” The same quote was also ascribed to the girl in a tweet by ANI.
PTI also reported that 14-year-old Ayanna Kohli “wrote a book on Article 370”. PTI quoted Singh talking about the book in reference to Article 370: “The book is a vindication of the gross mental agony and injustice suffered by the children of her age group on account of the now abolished clause of the Constitution.”
Is the book on Article 370?
While the book is titled In the Times of Article 370, it does not talk about the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. The foreword of the book, by journalist Barkha Dutt, mentions that the book is written by Ayanna Kohli and her father. The 14-year-old’s father, Umang Kohli, is an officer in the Indian army.
“That it is written by a father and his daughter to bring to life what a young soldier on duty may experience on counter-terrorism duty in situations that are unpredictable, but sometimes also moving and uplifting,” Dutt wrote.
The book is a work of fiction – a story about protagonist Ram, who is an army man.
Umang Kohli reiterated to AltNews that the book has no mention of Article 370 except in the preface. He said that his daughter has narrated his story in the book. “She is a 14-year-old who has written about soldiers’ life in Kashmir,” he said. “How would she know of all this if not me? She has heard stories from me and my life as an officer. I’m her inspiration behind the book. I have guided her but she has written the book by adding her own imagination. It is a work of fiction.”
Kohli added: “The story is inspired by me and my life experiences but the book is written by my daughter which is why the author note mentions her name. My involvement in the book has been duly acknowledged. Now whether someone wants to term it is as ‘co-author’ is up to them.”
Union Minister Jitendra Singh, ANI and PTI, falsely claimed that the book is about Article 370. Moreover, none of them mentioned that the book is a work of fiction.
ANI misquotes the girl
As mentioned earlier in the article, ANI wrote that Ayanna Kohli travelled for two months across the country and found that Article 370 has been celebrated by each Indian. Umang Kohli wrote in response to ANI’s tweet that this statement was not made by his daughter but BJP MP Singh.
ANI later tweeted a video of the minister making this statement.
This article first appeared on Alt News.