War and Peace in Junglemahal by Biswajit Roy and War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (Screen grab credits and copyrights: Amazon and Sethuprakashani.com)
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The book that was referred to by the Bombay High Court during the trial of Vernon Gonsalves on Wednesday was not War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy but a book called War and Peace in Junglemahal by Biswajit Roy, a Kolkata-based journalist. Vernon Gonsalves is an accused in the Bhima Koregaon violence case.

“The book found in the punchnama of accused Vernon Gonsalves is War and Peace in Junglemahal: People, State and Maoists by Biswajit Roy. Not War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy,” Yug Chaudhary, an advocate representing another accused in the Bhima Koregaon case said.

Justice Sarang Kotwal of Bombay High court was shocked by hearing the news reports.

“What has been reported is disturbing for the institution. I know Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace is a literary classic and that I didn’t mean to suggest that all the books seized by Pune police in the Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima case were incriminating,” Justice Kotwal said.

“You have made your point about the books not being banned. Besides, yesterday, I was reading the whole list from the charge sheet. I know War and Peace [by Leo Tolstoy]. I was making a query on the entire list that police has mentioned [as evidence],” he added.

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