Centre's reported order on Taslima shocking, says Javed Anand

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New Delhi, Dec 20 (UNI) This year's National Minority Rights Award winner Javed Anand today reacted with a shock to the reports that Taslima has been asked by the Home Ministry to either stay in Delhi or leave the country.

''If it is true, then it is outrageous. Taslima had chosen Kolkata naturally because of the cultural and lingual affinity she has with the state. Asking her not to return to the city is absurd,'' Mr Anand told UNI.

Earlier, the rights activist had condemned the intolerance shown by a section of Muslims towards Taslima Nasreen and feels her decision to delete the ''offending'' passages from her book 'Dwikhandito' is a surrender to the feminist cause made under pressure.

''The community is doing to Taslima what it would not like others should do to it,'' he said.

There was no justification for the violent reaction to the views of the Bangladeshi writer even if it finds them very unpalatable or wrong, as in a democratic country, there should be no place for such things, Mr Anand asserted.

If some Muslims do not like what she is saying in her books, they should oppose it academically, but things like attack on her person at Hyderabad, street violence demanding her deportation etc were the most reprehensible, he added.

Ms Nasreen, who had been living in exile in Kolkata, was shifted out of the state last month after some Muslim groups indulged in violence and threatened to kill her if she was not sent back to her home country. They are opposing the extension of her visa which was, however, granted by the Centre. Later, she was made to agree to deletion of some passages from her book which Muslims said were derogatory to Islam.

Mr Anand said it was strange that tolerance and peaceful coexistence being demanded by the community should be missing from its own response to the people and their acts, or events it thinks were not acceptable.

He reiterated what he had said at the time of receiving the award that ''minorities in this country have been vulnerable to frequent attacks, so nobody else than they should value the rights of others to be different from them,''.

The minority rights activist also criticised the attitude of the central and West Bengal Governments towards the whole Taslima issue as being very ''questionable'.

The CPI(M) government of West Bengal should have stood by Taslima, but the way they have dealt with the whole issue was unfortunate, he said.

The National Minority Rights Award, instituted by the National Commission for Minorities, was given to Mr Anand here on December 18 by Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari.

UNI

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