Taslima's book launched despite protests
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Taslima's book launched despite protests

The release of Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen's autobiography at Kolkata Book Fair has been cancelled following the demands of Kolkata police.

books Updated: Feb 01, 2012 09:38 IST
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times

Great drama unfolded at the Kolkata Book Fair on Wednesday after exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin’s book was released by the publisher to protest against the book fair authorities decision who asked the publisher to cancel the book launch.

Taslima Nasrin’s Nirbasan (Exile) is the seventh part of her autobiography series.

While the book was slated for official release at the UBI auditorium at 3 pm, the ‘unofficial’ release took place at 3:30 pm at stall 442.

“Publishers’ and Booksellers’ Guild officials told us they have been instructed by officers from Kolkata Police headquarters at Lalbazaar not to go ahead with the launch of the book, since they were apprehending trouble from a section of fundamentalists,” said Dipankar Chakravarti of People’s Book Society, publishers of the book.

Secretary of Publishers’ and Booksellers’ Guild, Tridib Chatterjee initially offered a completely different explanation. “The auditorium was not ready. Hence all bookings were cancelled,” he told HT.

However, when confronted with the version of Chakravarti, he said, “I would neither say yes, nor no. Is that clear?”

This is the fifth year of Taslima’s absence from the Kolkata Book Fair after she was forced to leave the city following a riot on August 22, 2007.

“The city of progressives cannot launch my book even in my absence. It seems all political parties and organisations are afraid of fanatics. But for how long?” asked a dejected Talsima.

Venting her anger on Twitter, the author wrote, "Kolkata Book Fair committee canceled my book release program today at Kolkata Book Fair. Why?Some religious fanatics don't want it to happen. Kolkata, a city of progressive! A book release even w/o my presence not possible! All political parties, all orgs afraid of fanatics! But how long" (sic).

The Taslima ban comes within two weeks of the Salman Rushdie fiasco, when the author had to pull out of Asia’s biggest literary show, the Jaipur Literary Festival, following a warning from the Rajasthan Government that there was a threat to the life of the author of Satanic Verses.

(With inputs from Twitter)

Kolkata police asked Kolkata Book Fair committee to cancel my book release program. Book Fair's AC hall was booked for the program.

First Published: Feb 01, 2012 09:38 IST