Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Thursday termed "truly bizarre" the Bombay High Court asking an activist to explain why he kept a copy of Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace".
"Welcome to New India," Ramesh said, a day after the Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case accused Vernon Gonsalves to explain why he kept "objectionable material" like a copy of Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace" and some CDs at his home.
The single-judge bench of Justice Sarang Kotwal, hearing the bail plea of Gonsalves and others, also said "such books" and CDs prima facie indicated they contained some material against the State.
"Truly bizarre that somebody is being asked by a judge of the Bombay High Court to explain why he has copy of Tolstoy's War & Peace, a true classic. And to think Tolstoy was a major influence on the Mahatma. Welcome to New India!" Ramesh tweeted.
The classic novel about Russia during Napoleonic wars became a point of contention after Pune Police claimed the book was part of the "highly incriminating evidence" it had seized from Gonsalves' house in Mumbai during raids conducted a year ago.
Pune Police also read out titles of several other books and CDs allegedly recovered from Gonsalves' house, which included CDs titled 'Rajya Daman Virodhi' released by Kabir Kala Manch.
"The title of the CD 'Rajya Daman Virodhi' itself suggests it has something against the state while 'War and Peace' is about a war in another country. Why did you (Gonsalves) keep objectionable material such as books like 'War and Peace', books and CDs at home? You will have to explain this to the court," said Justice Kotwal.