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Prophet’s picture in book sparks row in West Bengal


Kolkata : After the Taslima Nasreen issue, another controversy is brewing in West Bengal over a book on India’s former president S. Radhakrishnan which contains a picture of Prophet Mohammed.

“There is no picture of Prophet Hazrat Mohammed in Islam. It is unethical to publish such pictures as it hurts the sentiments of Muslim community,” Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Mosque, Moulana Noorur Rahman Barkati, told IANS.

He said such controversies create differences between the Hindu and Muslim community and disturb communal harmony.

Media reports said the book, published by a New Delhi-based publisher six months ago, has created a stir in the state that has become extremely sensitive to communal issues of late.

Abdus Sattar, West Bengal minority’s development minister, has demanded a ban on the sale of the book.

Publishing such a “picture” is “wrong and uncalled for” as there cannot be any picture of the Prophet, Sattar wrote in a letter to Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya. “A decision on the book is urgently required,” Sattar said.

He said the book was being sold at several bookstalls on College Street, the city’s largest book market.

“I have told the chief minister that the book should not be sold in this state and the matter should also be taken up with the Centre,” the minister said.

The publisher has been quoted as saying that if the book had indeed hurt the sentiments of any community, the company was even ready to destroy the existing copies.