Nasreen withdraws controversial portion of her book
Tossed around from place to place, Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen Friday announced that she was withdrawing some controversial writings from one of her novels that had triggered violence and demands that she be expelled from India.
"I am withdrawing controversial lines in 'Dwikhandita' (split into two), written in 2002 with the memory of Bangladesh in the 1980s when military threw out secularism in the country.
"I wrote the book in support of the people who defended secular values. I had no intention to hurt anybody's sentiment. Now since some people in India claim that it hurts their sentiments, I am withdrawing some lines from the book," Nasreen told PTI over telephone from an undisclosed location.
Her announcement came in the wake of a statement in Parliament by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee who, while assuring shelter to her in India, had asked her to refrain from expressions that may hurt the sentiments of the people in the country. Ever since violence broke out in Kolkata last week, there have been demands from Muslim outfits that the visa of Taslima, who has been living in India for the last two years, should be revoked and she be expelled.
Facing death threats over her writings considered "anti-Islamic", she left Bangladesh in 1994 and had been visiting India intermittently.
'Dwikhandita', her autobiographical novel on socio-religious issues of Bangladesh, was banned by the West Bengal government for some time before Calcutta High Court had intervened to lift it.
The Bangladeshi writer hoped that from now on, there would be no controversy and "I'll be able to live peacefully in this country."
Nasreen was virtually bundled out of Kolkata on the night of Thursday last week after violence there and was flown to Jaipur.
Next morning, she was brought to Delhi by road and after a couple's of days' stay in Rajasthan House, the writer has been shifted to a safe house in an undisclosed location by central security agencies.
Nasreen said that he also requested the publisher of 'Dwikhandita', 'People's Book Society', not to circulate copies of the book still in its possession.
"I have asked my publisher to bring out the next edition of the book deleting those controversial lines," the writer said.
Confirming this, a spokesman for the publisher said, "We will withdraw 30 to 40 copies, already in circulation, from the market and in the next edition we will delete three controversial pages of the book."
Meanwhile, Communist Party of India (CPI) has welcomed Nasreen's move, saying it would "facilitate her return to West Bengal".
"This is a very correct step she has taken. She believes this step will help bring in normalcy. I also think this would assuage the feelings of those who have been hurt," party leader Gurudas Dasgupta said here.