Literary Fest not to invite Taslima Nasreen from next year

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Controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen will not be invited to the Jaipur Literary Festival from next year, organisers said in a statement on Tuesday.

This came after Nasreen made controversial remarks supporting Uniform Civil Code at a session at the festival on Monday causing protests from the audience.

“They expressed their anger…. I heard them out. Explained we supported minorities in every way. Underscored that we are a platform for all points of view. Agreed that we should consider their request not to reinvite them,” Sanjoy K Roy, Producer of JLF, was quoted by PTI.

Taslima Nasreen

Among those who protested her comments were Rajasthan Muslim Forum, All India Milli Council, Jamaat-e-Islami and Muslim Personal Law Board. The Muslim bodies had said on Tuesday that Nasreen was a disputed personality.

The controversial writer has been living in exile since 1994. During her stay in India, she has been made anti-Islam comments both through her social media pages and other public platforms.

They demanded that no invitation must be extended to the writer again.

“Nasreen is a disputed personality. JLF organisers did not name her in the schedule in JLF booklet. Organisers played hide and seek game and police administration too supported her and allowed her in a session. So we had gone to protest.

“We had a meeting with organisers where producer Sanjoy Roy promised that they will not provide platform to Salman Rushdie and Nasreen from next year,” Mehrunnisa Khan, state president of Women India Movement, had told PTI yesterday.

Taslima participated in a surprise session titled, ‘Exile’ at the festival yesterday, the speakers for which were not revealed until the morning of the concluding day, presumably to avoid the sort of protests that rocked the pink city 10 years ago, when the writer was refused shelter in the city after being driven out of Kolkata by the West Bengal government.

Last evening, the festival’s co-director William Dalrymple appeared unwilling to disclose much.

“I vaguely knew that she was coming,” was the most he would offer when asked by PTI.

During her session, Nasreen batted for a Uniform Civil Code as a tool for “empowerment” and said the Islamic society needed to be more tolerant towards criticism to make progress.

“It is necessary for Islamic society to be tolerant and accept criticism without which they cannot progress. Uniform Civil Code is urgently required for empowering people with human rights,” she had said.

Upholding the freedom of writers around the world, she slammed religious fanatics, saying she did not believe in terms like “nationalism” or “religious fundamentalism”.

“I don’t believe in nationalism, religious fundamentalism.

I believe in one world. I believe in rights, freedom, humanism and rationalism. Until Islam accepts criticism, no Islamic country can be considered secular. Whenever I criticise, people want to kill me,” she had said.

Nasreen, an award-winning writer, is best known for her powerful writings on women oppression and unflinching criticism of religion.

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