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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Taslima wants the government to act on SC ruling on fatwa

Snighdendu Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, July 08, 2014
First Published: 17:06 IST(8/7/2014) | Last Updated: 17:08 IST(8/7/2014)

Exiled Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen welcomed the Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday that banned fatwa. She said time had come for the government to act against those who announced such fatwas.

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The 52-year old writer can't enter Bengal due to fatwas issued against her by Kolkata clerics. She has always expressed her longing to stay in Kolkata that she calls her second home after her exile from Bangladesh.

"In India I have the most numbers of fatwas on my head. It was illegal even before the SC ruling but no government bothered to act," Nasreen told HT over the phone, and added, "I hope the SC ruling of Monday carries a message to the government to act."

Two fatwas were declared against her in Kolkata, while another one was declared by an Uttar Pradesh cleric. One of the fatwas announced in Kolkata promised 'unlimited amount' for Nasreen's head.

"No civilised country can accept fatwas. But sadly, those who announced fatwas on me in Kolkata are honoured by the state government simply due to the vote-bank politics," Nasreen said.

Nasreen was forced to leave Kolkata, her most prefered city after birth place Dhaka, due to violent protest against her, led by a Trinamool leader who is now a party MP, during the last days of the Left Front goverment, in 2011. She lives in New Delhi since then.

"It is because of these fatwas that i need police protection, which affects my normal life. I want to see the government either make them (clerics) withdraw the fatwas or put them behind the bars," she added.

Nasreen has been living in exile in different places in Europe and India since 1994.

On 17 August 2007, clerics in Kolkata revived an old fatwa against the writer, asking her to quit the country and offering anybody who could kill her limitless amounts of money. On November 21, the city witnessed violent protests on the streets.

The disorder unleashed by All India Minority Forum went to an extent when the Buddhadeb Bhattacharya government was forced to deploy the armed forces to restore order. After the riots, the Left Front government forced the writer to move out of Bengal, much to the chagrin of a section of intellectuals close to the former chief minister himself.


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