Vol. 4 Num 182 Sat. November 29, 2003  
Front Page

Kolkata bans Taslima's Dwikhandita

The Indian state of West Bengal yesterday banned the latest book by feminist writer Taslima Nasreen, saying its circulation could trigger religious unrest.

Taslima's Bangla-language "Dwikhandita" (Split in Two) was proscribed by the state's ruling Marxists after local Islamic scholars warned its contents could inflame religious passions.

"I have gone through the book and it has been proscribed," Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya told reporters.

Deputy Home Secretary SS Basu told AFP that Muslim intellectuals had written to the chief minister urging him to seize copies of the book "as they feared it would disturb the communal harmony in the state".

"(They) said the book contained passages with obscene remarks on Islam and the Prophet Mohammad," he said.

Taslima, speaking to the Press Trust of India (PTI), said she was upset by the ban in West Bengal, where she is hugely popular among the Bangla-speaking people.

"I don't know why they chose to proscribe 'Dwihkandita' on the ground that it could disturb communal harmony," Taslima told PTI by telephone from New York.

"In my personal opinion, 'Aamar Meyebela' (My Girlhood) was far more anti-Islamic than this one. Why didn't they ban it?."

"That I am anti-Islamic is not a revelation. In all my syndicated columns and books, I have made no secret of this belief. Why is this mild book irking the West Bengal government this time?" she added.

"Dwikhandita" is the renamed version of Taslima's novel "Ka," banned 16 days ago by a Bangladesh court after a fellow author said he had been defamed by its contents.