Publishing house Juggernaut Books on Thursday defended its decision to publish Kiran Nagarkar’s latest novel though the author is facing accusations of sexual misconduct.
On Thursday, a Twitter user cited an interview of Nagarkar published in a newspaper, asking why Juggernaut Books had stepped in to publish The Arsonist when Penguin Random House had cancelled the contract.
Juggernaut Books responded to the tweet saying Nagarkar’s new novel spoke “urgently to the political and social climate” in India today. “As publishers, we must find a balance between freedom of expression and our responsibility to not give a platform to those who have been accused of sexual harassment,” the publishing house said. “In this instance, we felt that by not publishing Kiran Nagarkar’s book we would be suppressing an important novel that compellingly addresses some of the major issues and debates in the country today.”
At the height of the #MeToo movement in India, three women journalists had alleged on Twitter that Nagarkar had behaved inappropriately with them. Nagarkar denied the allegations on October 11. “I unequivocally deny these allegations of sexual impropriety which go against the heart of my character and everything I stand for,” he had said in a statement posted on Twitter.