Exiled Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen, whose views on the burqa, published in a Kannada daily, purportedly led to riots in Karnataka, said on Tuesday that the article in question was originally written in English and published three years ago. It had been distorted in translation and reused by the Kannada daily, Kannada Prabha, without her permission.
“I suspect this is a deliberate attempt to malign me,” the author, currently in Delhi, told HT. “How can people reproduce my article without my permission? How can they distort the text and create tension?”
The piece, published on Sunday, infuriated Muslims, leading to riots in the towns of Shimoga and Hasan in south Karnataka, in which two people were killed. Both towns are still under curfew.
In Delhi, Home Minister P. Chidambaram too exonerated the author. “This is an article she wrote in 2007. That article was translated into Kannada and published on Milad-ud-Nabi day,” he said. “It is unfortunate.”
“The situation is under control. We’ve rushed in central forces,” Chidambaram added.
In Bangalore, Kannada Prabha released a statement to say it was a secular publication and the article was not willfully published to hurt religious sentiments. Editor Shivasubramanya K. refused to answer any more questions, saying he had been instructed not to speak to the media.
Taslima supporters suspected it was a conspiracy against her. They pointed out that her six-month residence permit is expiring on August 17, after which the government has told her it may not be renewed.
In Bangalore, representatives of the Muslim community met senior members of the Express Group of newspapers (which publishes Kannada Prabha). Many agreed Taslima’s words in her original article don’t seem as provocative as they appeared after translation.