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Last Updated: Friday, 28 November, 2003, 16:32 GMT
West Bengal bans 'offensive' book
Taslima Nasreen
Officials said Nasreen's book might disturb 'communal harmony'
The Indian state of West Bengal has banned a book written by a controversial feminist author from neighbouring Bangladesh.

Officials said they felt parts of the book might be offensive to Muslims.

Earlier this month, a court in Bangladesh issued an order temporarily banning the book pending a law suit against the author, Taslima Nasreen.

Ms Nasreen was forced to flee Bangladesh in 1994 after receiving death threats from Muslim extremists.

'Inflammatory' passages

State officials decided to take action after Muslim intellectuals in West Bengal complained that parts of the book - Ms Nasreen's autobiography - slandered Islam.

Why is this mild book irking the West Bengal Government
Taslima Nasreen, author
"The book may disturb communal harmony. The book makes objectionable remarks against a particular community... and the government has felt it could incite ill-feeling," an unnamed official told the BBC.

Acting on orders from West Bengal Home Secretary Amit Kiran Dev, police seized thousands of copies of the book, called Dwihkandita (Split in Two), which has been on sale for a month.

The book's publisher, Shibani Mukherjee, told the BBC police came to her home and questioned her about her contacts with Ms Nasreen.

The author is living in exile in the United States following death threats against her over an earlier book, in which she described abuses against Bangladesh's Hindu minority.

Large following

Ms Nasreen said she was upset her book has been outlawed in West Bengal, where she has a large following among the Bengali-speaking population.

"I don't know why they chose to proscribe Dwihkandita on the grounds that it could disturb communal harmony.

"That I am anti-Islamic is not a revelation. In all my syndicated columns and books, I have made no secret of this belief. Why is this mild book irking the West Bengal Government this time?" she asked.

Dwihkandita was temporarily banned in West Bengal after another author, Syed Hassmat Jalal, said sections of the book defamed him.

Jail term surprises Bangladeshi author
14 Oct 02  |  South Asia
Bangladesh bans third Taslima book
27 Aug 02  |  South Asia
Bangladesh bans new Taslima book
13 Aug 99  |  South Asia
Taslima goes back into exile
26 Jan 99  |  South Asia
Bangladesh police hunt feminist writer
26 Sep 98  |  South Asia
Country profile: Bangladesh
16 Aug 02  |  Country profiles

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