A leading Muslim cleric today issued a fatwa that the face of controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen be blackened for her alleged comments against Islam and demanded that she be immediately expelled from India.
In a live interaction with Taslima on a local Bengali TV channel, the Imam of the Tipu Sultan mosque, Noorul Rahman Barkati, said he had issued the fatwa against the author for her comments against Islam and its prophet.
Barkati also said that he had offered a reward of Rs. 50,000 for anybody who would blacken Taslima's face as he urged authorities to immediately deport her to Bangladesh.
Taslima, who fled Bangladesh several years ago following threats to her life by fundamentalists there, has been living in Kolkata since the last one year.
During the interaction, Taslima denied having said anything against Islam or insulted Prophet Mohammed, but said that she is living in a democracy where freedom of expression is guaranteed to everybody.
She also said that she was fighting for the rights of women and she would continue to do so.
"In a democratic country one does not have the right to gag somebody by issuing a fatwa," Taslima said.
The author had yesterday clarified that her comments during the seminar had been distorted to the advantage of fundamentalist organisations.
Security was tightened by the city police at the residence of the 44-year-old Bangladeshi writer after the controversy broke out.