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Arrest Taslima, says Bengal BJP


Parwez Hafeez - Calcutta


The West Bengal unit of the BJP has demanded the immediate arrest of Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, accusing her of "insulting the whole country."

The reason for the BJP's wrath is Ms Nasreen's vehement attack on the Sangh Parivar for disrupting the shooting of Deepa Mehta's Water. A local Bengali daily on Tuesday published a strongly-worded article by Ms Nasreen condemning religious fundamentalism of all kinds. "What is the state of freedom of expression in the largest democracy of the world at the beginning of 21st century? A film is not being allowed to be made," the article begins. Defending both Deepa Mehta and Shabana Azmi, Nasreen says everybody knows that the pathetic life of widows in Kashi, which Ms Mehta wants to depict in her movie, is not a false description.

"A country where questions are raised over the freedom of an artist may be anything but civilised," Ms. Nasreen says. This is the sentence that has offended the state BJP. General secretary Rahul Sinha said: "She is abusing our hospitality. Staying in our country, she has the audacity to insult the whole country." He called her article not only an insult but also "obscene and crude." He said: "She has not been content with insulting the people of this country but has also made distasteful and obscene comments." BJP leaders also seem to have been provoked by Ms Nasreen's observation that Hindu fundamentalists have pounced upon Ms Mehta in an attempt to cover up the truth. "This is the only work for the fundamentalists: to worship falsehoods and to cling to these falsehoods, because the moment truth comes to the surface they feel threatened," she says. Interestingly, when Ms Nasreen had flayed Muslim fundamentalists in Bangladesh in her novel Lajja, the same BJP had hailed her as an honest and courageous writer. The Sangh Parivar had even got her controversial book translated into Hindi and other Indian languages
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