A group of people protested at a stall of a Christian organisation at the ongoing New Delhi World Book Fair (NDWBF) allegedly against the free distribution of copies of the Bible.
A purported video of the incident, which took place on Wednesday at Pragati Maidan, was shared on social media that showed some men shouting religious slogans and demanding a stop to the distribution of free Bibles at the stall being run by a Christian organisation Gideons International.
Police said no complaint in the matter has been filed either by the organisers of the book fair or the Gideons International.
“There was no violence reported in the protest, nor any books were torn,” a police official said.
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There was no immediate comment from Gideons International which, according to its website, is an evangelical Christian association founded in 1899 whose primary activity is distributing copies of the Bible free of charge.
The video, where one of the protesting members claimed to be the Delhi head of ‘Hindu United Front’, shows people arguing with him and talking of the Constitution and rights enshrined under it.
The NDWBF, home to books of almost all genres, has been hosting several stalls selling religious and spiritual books — some of which distribute copies of religious texts for free as well.
Hindu right-wing organisation Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), though denying its involvement in the protest, accused Christian groups and missionaries of “trapping the Hindus”.
“The members protesting were not related to us directly. Distributing free books or not isn’t the matter … it is basically a question of mentality.
“It is the way they were distributing, pursuing or cheating people, denigrating other religions that’s what got the people agitated,” said Vinod Bansal, spokesperson VHP.
The physical edition of NDWBF, which officially began on February 25 after a Covid-induced hiatus of two years, will come to a close on March 5.