India: Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasrin targeted by Islamic Fundamentalists
09 Aug 2007
Hyderabad: August 9, 2007. This morning Taslima Nasrin, a popular writer born in Bangladesh and famous human rights supporter, was wounded during a press conference with journalists in Hyderabad, capital of Andhra Pradesh, as she presented her book.
The assault was carried out by members of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen Party (MIM), an Islamic movement based in the city: the attackers hit her with bouquets to protest against her criticism of how women are treated under Islamic law. She has received minor injuries on the forehead. It is not the first time that the 45 year old writer, editor and poet Taslima Nasrin, has been the victim of the fundamentalist attacks. Taslima sparked a furore among hardcore Muslim clerics in 1993 when her book "Lajja", (meaning Shame), depicting how Hindu minorities were mistreated in Bangladesh, was published. The Islamist issued a fatwa with a bounty on her head.
In 1994 organised groups closet o the fundamentalist religious groups demanded she be hanged after she wrote in an article that "the Koran should be completely revisited". The government at the time not only failed to take any measures against those who threatened her, but also issued an arrest warrant accusing her of blasphemy. Fearing for her life, Nasrin fled Bangladesh to Sweden, which offered her asylum, and spent years in Europe before moving to India where she lives on a renewable residential permit. In 1994 the European Parliament awarded her the "Sakharov" Prize for freedom of thought. In 2004 an Indian Muslim religious leader offered a second ransom of 20.000 Ruppees to whoever "blackened" her face, an act which is considered gravely injurious, while in March of this year an Indian Muslim group also placed a bounty of 500,000 Rupees on her head.
Political analysts feel this is attack has been planned given that Assembly elections are scheduled in a few months time, while Sajan George, National president of the Global Council of Indian Christians said: "It is a shame because this is not the way to treat a guest and it is also an attack on a women. We should hang our heads in shame at this treatment meted out to her. India in her 60th year of Independence prided herself that she has a woman President, which we hoped heralded improved status and treatment for our women. India is a secular democracy. Does India believe in Secular traditions? In a democracy we are ensured our freedom of speech and expression. There is a climate of intolerance gaining ground in the country and especially in Andhra Pradesh". (NC)