Pak, Bangla NGO representatives against ban on Taslima's bo

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New Delhi, Nov 10 (UNI) Representatives of two influential NGOs from Pakistan and Bangladesh do not favour any ban on the writings of controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, who is currently living in exile in India.

''If she has written something which people think is objectionable, they should counter it on an academic platform, said Shaheen Anam, executive director of Manusher Jonno Foundation of Bangladesh and Mukhtar Ahmad Ali, executive director of Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives, Pakistan.

They were here last week to participae in a conference on the Right to Information Act.

Ms Anam said though she herself did not think much of the literary qualities of Ms Nasreen's writings, she respects her right to express her opinion and views on any subject.

She said contrary to the image that majoriy of people in Bangladesh were for ban on the controversial writer, there were a fairly large number of people who while disagrreeing with her comments on Islam, were not in favour of curtailing her physical and intellectual freedom.

Echoing Ms Anam's views, Mr Ali, who is from Pakistan, also said banning Taslima Nasreen's books was not a proper response of a civil society to deal with writers.

''If you disagree with what she has written or find it very reprehensible, you should avoid her books, or you may contest and condemn her views on an academic platform,'' he said.

He also tried to dispel the notion that the whole Pakistani society was homogenous in its thinking on the Taslima Nasreen issue.

''It depends on whom you are talking to. People from varied background and ideologies may come out with varied response,'' he said.

Mr Ali feels the trend of banning books, or any other work of art ect would create a dangerous trend of which there would be no end.

''At the end of the day, who is going to decide what was good for the society and what was bad and so should be banned. What may look good to me, may look bad to others, then who should have the right to ban what. If there is merit in any thing, it will last, otherwise it will die down after sometime,'' he said.

Ms Nasreen's stay in India has not been peaceful either as here too she had to face the ire of some Muslim organisations, following which her book 'Dwikhandito' was banned by the West Bengal Government in whose capital Kolkata she was staying after fleeing Bangladesh.

However, later the High Court removed the ban.

In view of the growing sentiments against her, the West Bengal Government had last year shifted her outside the state, and she was finally brought to Delhi where she was almost kept comnfined to a house. Feeling suffocated, she had left for Sweden, but returned to the capital in August and has again been living at an undisclosed place since then.

Ms Nasreen has been urging for citizenship of India, but the Central Government has only been extending her visa.


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