So a book gets called out for being false (mostly because it is being promoted by those who spread the hatred and falsehoods in the first place) and many Indian liberals say it is a “self-goal”. Can somebody tell them this is not a football match?
Lives are at stake, violence is triggered and fueled by these falsehoods.
Sure, lies are free speech too. But are we really so naive that we don't see how persistent and motivated lying has brought us to the point that we are actually worrying about our future as a democracy? Or have the woke people of three months ago gotten tired of their wokeness and are longing for the warmth of privilege where they could comfortably spout "both sides"? When lies have tangible real-world repercussions like mass murder, wrongful imprisonment, riots, and dividing society on religious lines, they're not "just another opinion".
Words are weapons.
When the powerful use their words to poison the well we all drink from, only those with their own private water supplies can say "it's just their opinion and we should respect it". Those responsible for the Delhi riots did not actually commit murder with their own hands. They too were just "expressing their opinion". Hate speech isn't only a call for shooting people. It is also a reasonably polite criticism of "those people" that happens at dinner tables and is fuelled by garbage books like the one that faced liberal wrath yesterday.
Neutrality isn't something that exists halfway between truth and falsehood. If it does, it is useless at best and malevolent at worst.
Truth matters, and a large part of its defence requires the condemnation of lies and preventing them from becoming a shield for hateful opportunists.