Barred from Ekushey Book Fair 2023, Adarsha goes to High Court

Md Mahabubur Rahman, the publisher of Adarsha Prakashani, Thursday challenged the Bangla Academy’s decision to deny him a stall at the Amar Ekushey Book Fair 2023 in a writ filed at the High Court.

Four people, including the director general of the Bangla Academy, were made defendants in the writ, the petitioner’s lawyer Aneek R Haque said. “The hearing on the writ petition is likely to be held next week.”

The petitioner sought the court’s instruction to allot stalls to the publishing house as soon as possible.

The Bangla Academy, the governing body of the fair, published the allocation list on 12 January, where Adarsha’s name was dropped.

Later, Adarsha learned about objections towards the book “Bangaleer Mediocrityr Sondhane” by Faham Abdus Salam, son-in-law of BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.

According to the writ, the reason the authorities did not allow the publishing house from attending the fair was a book that is not banned or blacklisted. “So, the decision is invalid as per the Bangla Academy Act 2013. Also, it is against freedom of speech.”

With virus-era norms like social distancing now discarded, this year’s fair returned to its usual start date of 1 February, and barring some unforeseen pandemic-level event, will last the entire month at the Bangla Academy’s sprawling premises, along with the adjacent Suhrawardy Udyan in the capital.

Nine hundred and one units were allocated to 601 organisations for this year’s fair, compared to 776 units to 534 organisations last year.