CFI/India President Released on Bail

March 9, 2010


The president of the Center for Inquiry/India, Innaiah Narisetti, has reportedly been released on bail after being detained for 5 days on a charge related to the distribution of a book deemed offensive to Muslims.


Narisetti was reportedly taken into custody at his home Feb. 26 after Muslim legislators raised questions in the Legislative Assembly of Andhra Pradesh State and Chief Minister Konijeti Rosaiah promised to take action. Local Muslims of Khammam had demonstrated and violently protested against the book. In addition to Narisetti, the police arrested Macha Laxmaiah (alias Krantikar), the compiler of the book, as well as another rationalist individual, Mr. M. Subbarao.


The book, Crescent over the World, is a two-volume compilation of articles critical of Islam, including submissions by Ibn Warraq, Salman Rushdie, Aayan Hirsi Ali, and Taslima Nasreen, along with one of the “blasphemous” cartoons published in the Danish press in 2005 (some of which were republished in Free Inquiry magazine).


Narisetti became embroiled in the arrests because Laxmaiah had reportedly published in the book’s opening pages that copies would be available through Narisetti at the Center for Inquiry/India. Police reportedly found no copies of the book at Narisetti’s home after a search, but took him into custody anyway.


After his release on bail, Narisetti addressed a press conference and stated that he did not give any consent to the editor and compiler of the book to list his name as distributor, the editor never approached him to seek permission, nor was he sent any copies of the printed book.

Narisetti reportedly obtained bail on March 3 and returned to Hyderabad on March 4, 2010. The charges against the three defendants will be formally issued on March 11 in Khammam. As of this report, Laxmaiah remains jailed.