Taslima Nasreen “Investigated” By Police For Criticizing Muslim Cleric

Taslima Nasreen
Nasreen’s Twitter Profile Photo

A Muslim cleric from the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) has filed a complaint with police against secular humanist writer Taslima Nasreen for tweets that allegedly “hurt religious sentiments.” The UP police have prepared a “First Information Report” (FIR) in the stage of investigation against Nasreen. The complaint was filed at the Kotwali police station on behalf of Maulana Subhan Raza Khan Subhani Miyan, leader of the Dargah-e-Ala Hazrat, by his son Hasan Raza Khan Noori Miyan for the following tweets:

Indian Politicians Encouraging Fanatics

Taslima Nasreen had tweeted criticism of Indian politician Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) meeting and seeking the endorsement of the Muslim cleric Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan, who had earlier issued a fatwa (decree) against Nasreen's writings being “anti-Islam.” One of Nasreen's tweets pointed out that in March, 2007 Maulana Tauqeer had called for the killing and beheading of Taslima Nasreen and offered a reward of 500,000 Indian rupees from the “All India Ibtehad Council” for that purpose. The same cleric had also offered 10 million Indian rupees for the assassination of former U.S. President George W. Bush in the same year.

Nasreen said and tweeted "Since the days after independence, Indian politicians have been seeking help of clerics who don't respect human rights, are against freedom of expression and the Indian Constitution. This has encouraged the irrational, misogynist fanatics who are against modernity and plurality of thoughts.

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Nasreen expressed shock about the news of the police investigation: "I do not know what wrong I done with those tweets? I only spoke the truth and once again they are after me.” She added, "I am shocked to hear this. How can this happen in a democratic country like India where the Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech and expression?"

She later tweeted:

Muslim Fanatics Want To Drive Her Out Of India

Taslima Nasreen is Bangladeshi by birth, a novelist and long-time women's rights activist. She was forced into exile from her country of birth in 1994 when Muslim extremists sought to kill her for her novel “Lajja” (Shame), which explored Muslim atrocities against Bangladeshi Hindus. Her writings about the degraded status of women in Islam, and her other writings exploring themes of female sexuality had already been controversial. She has regularly assailed fundamentalism in all religions and crimes against women.

After living in the West for a decade, she moved in 2004 to Kolkata (then Calcutta) in the Indian state of West Bengal, which is culturally akin to Bangladesh. She was forced to leave in 2007 when Indian Muslim extremists conducted violent protests for her death. Even though the Indian constitution guarantees the freedom of speech, the state government of West Bengal has since refused to allow her to visit the city. Indian authorities placed her virtually under house arrest from 2007 to 2008, when she could not even live her house in Delhi for a walk.

Taslima Nasreen lived and worked for some time in Sweden in 2008, before returning to India and settling in Delhi. She is a legal resident of India.

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