Kolkata : Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi Sunday said controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen should apologise with “folded hands” for hurting the sentiments of Muslims of the country, and hinted that her book “Dwikhandito” could be banned.
Talking to reporters in Malda in West Bengal, he said: “We are a pluralistic nation and we respect all religions. I love literature and I have nothing against her writing. But that does not mean she can use her pen to insult and hurt the religious belief of the Muslims or for that matter any religion.”
“The comments made by her in the book in question were uncalled for. She should bow down before the people whose sentiments she has hurt and apologise with folded hands, and expunge those pages from her book,” Dasmunsi said.
“We did not allow Salman Rushdie’s book (‘The Satanic Verses’) when it caused a flutter and raised controversy. She will not be an exception,” said Dasmunsi.
Confined to a ‘safe house’ somewhere in New Delhi and shut out from the world except for phone calls and emails, Taslima Nasreen longs to come back to Kolkata from where she was shunted out in November after unprecedented street riots over her writings.
The Indian government earlier virtually told Taslima to leave the country or stay confined in a house away from Kolkata, where she had set up home for the past few years returning from exile in Europe after she was hounded out of Bangladesh for her writings.
Asked if she should be allowed to return to West Bengal, Dasmuni said, “I will not make any comment on this. When the state government had welcomed her and asked her to settle down in Kolkata complying with her wishes, they were under the impression that they were about to bring a progressive revolution in the state.”
“So it is their headache now,” he said taking a dig at the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front government in the state.
But if Taslima has to stay in India or any other country, she has to honour and respect the philosophy and identity of that nation, he added.
At the beginning of 2008, the writer had described her condition as in a no man’s land of fading hope, despair and crushing loneliness.
“I am only breathing. I don’t think I am alive like you are. Can anybody live like this? It was beyond my imagination that in a secular democracy this can happen to a writer,” Nasreen told IANS from her room in an undisclosed New Delhi house recently.