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Meet the book fair hero

Ranchi, Jan. 18: A brave cop, killed in the line of duty during a national crisis, is the hero of the ongoing nine-day book fair in Ranchi.

Who Killed Karkare? The Real Face of Terrorism in India, by former Maharashtra IG S.M. Mushrif, first published in 2009, is turning out to be the pop pick of book lovers at Jaipal Singh Stadium.

Its translations, available in Urdu, Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Kannada, Bengali and Malayalam, are also doing phenomenal business.

The book is not only about the death of anti-terror squad chief Hemant Karkare at Mumbai in a gun battle with terrorists in November 2008, it also traces India’s communal conflict with an impartial and intensive eye.

This was the top cop’s first effort, published by Pharos Media and Publishing, and earned critical acclaim as well as best-seller status.

No wonder, book lovers of Ranchi are making a beeline for the 336-page book. While its English and Hindi versions cost Rs 300 per copy, others are pegged at Rs 200.

Book lover Mitesh Singh said he was frantically searching for the book in city book stores, but could not find a copy. “I’m very glad to have finally got the book here. I’ve grabbed two copies,” Singh said, adding he was recommending the book to everyone.

Kiosk owner Kausar agreed it was a Karkare wave at the capital’s book fair.

“I’ve sold more than 50 copies out of the 80 I have. We had not expected such a fantastic response. True, the book got a huge response in metros such as Mumbai and Delhi, but Ranchi surprised us. Not just the English original, even its vernacular editions are selling like hot cakes,” he said.

Other books that are also on the must-buy list of the capital’s bibliophiles are Salman Rushdie’s searing second, and arguably best novel, Midnight’s Children, as well as one of his later works, The Enchantress of Florence.

Non-fiction and autobiographies such as Benazir Bhutto’s Daughter of the East, Barrack Obama’s Dream from my Father as well as Hindutva by progressive thinker I.K. Shukla, who died recently, also flew off the shelves.

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