Sahmat criticises Modi for his offer to Taslima Nasreen

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New Delhi, Nov 28 (UNI) A prominent rights body today rapped the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat on its knuckle for its offer to provide sanctuary to Bangladesh writer Taslima Nasreen in the state, saying it would ''do you good to first try and put your house in order''.

In an open letter to Chief Minister Modi, Sahmat chief Shabnam Hashmi said it was ironical that a government which refused to acknowledge the gangrape of more than 300 Muslim women during the Gujarat carnage of 2002 ''is proposing to given shelter to Taslima Nasreen.'' Accusing the chief minister and his government of unleashing forces of hatred in the society, she said it had caused havoc during his regime against ordinary women of Gujarat.

Ms Hashmi said there was a direct and deep connection between the ideology of hatred and growing violence against women. ''If a society allows hatred to breed and spread against any section of the society, it engulfs every other section too and has a direct impact on the women in that particular society,'' she said.

''The hatred and violence that you unleashed in 2002 against the women from a particular background had engulfed women of all classes, religions, castes and socio-economic backgrounds,'' she alleged.

She also drew Mr Modi's attention to newspaper reports, which were full of news of dowry deaths, female foeticide, domestic violence and rapes. ''One wonders if it is the same Gujarat where the Mahatma was born,'' she said.

In her letter, Ms Hashmi referred to a pilot study conducted by the Ahmedabad Women's Action Group (AWAG) under the 'Mental Health Care Pilots in Gujarat' project undertaken by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

The study revealed a whopping 58 per cent of the surveyed women in 'your mega city of Ahmedabad' suffer significant mental distress, she said.

It revealed horrendous forms of physical violence which include slapping, punching, biting, kicking and even branding with cigarette butts.

''Mr. Chief Minister, you could not protect women in Gujarat. It will do you good to first try and put your house in order. India is a large democracy and Indians will protect and keep Taslima safely,'' she said.

UNI

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