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Banning books is a sin: Chetan Bhagat

books Updated: Jan 30, 2012 05:59 IST

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Opining that banning books is a sin, popular novelist Chetan Bhagat on Sunday said people should appreciate the diversity of opinion in our society.

"Different people have different views. We must appreciate that. Nothing is absolute in this world," Bhagat said here at the Kolkata Literary Meet.

While talking about the freedom of speech and expression in books written on religion, he said, "there should be no ban on books. Thats a sin. Sometimes if some writings have hurt a society's feelings, they should acknowledge it".

Twenty years ago, Salman Rushdie's 'The Satanic Verses' was banned in many countries after Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini claimed that the novel's portrayal of the prophet Muhammad insulted Islam.

Earlier this month, the British-Indian novelist had to cancel his trip to India citing threats against his life for hurting the sentiments of Muslims.

Giving the examples of pornography and public nudity, Bhagat said that they are banned in many countries and one cannot show porn in the name of freedom of speech and expression.

"This is because every society has its own norms. They don't want to get destabilised," the author said adding that those who hurt the feelings of society shouldn't be treated as heroes.

As an artist, he said he wants full freedom of speech and expression.

"But what if I say something that can destabilise the country? Whose responsibility will be that," the best-selling writer of five novels said.