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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 April, 2005, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Writer sued for 'defiling' idol
Bengali writer Sunil Gangopadhyay
Gangopadhyay is one of India's best known writers (Picture:Subir Haldar)
A retired Indian police officer has begun legal proceedings against a Bengali writer accusing him of defiling a Hindu goddess.

Author Sunil Gangopadhyay was quoted in a newspaper saying that he was sexually aroused by an idol of the Hindu goddess of learning, Saraswati.

Retired policeman Bhibhuti Bhusan Nandy has sued Gangopadhyay saying that he hurt his religious sentiments.

Gangopadhyay is Bengal's best known poet and novelist with over 250 books.

The 71-year-old writer was quoted in the Anandabazar Patrika newspaper as saying he had kissed an idol of Saraswati to satisfy his desire.

Mr Nandy, a former chief of border police, said in a complaint to the police that Gangopadhyay's comments had defiled a goddess who is worshipped by Hindus.

Saraswati is regarded as the goddess of knowledge and the arts.

Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of learning


The BBC's Subir Bhaumik in Calcutta says Gangopadhyay is no stranger to such controversies.

Two years ago there were demonstrations outside a newspaper office in Calcutta after he wrote about the sex life of Indian spiritual leader Ramakrishna Paramhansa.

Last year, the Bangladesh government banned an issue of an Indian magazine which carried a story by Gangopadhyay where he wrote about the sex life of the Prophet Muhammad.

A prolific writer, Gangopadhyay has authored novels, short-stories, poems and travelogues in a 54-year-long writing career.

He won India's most prestigious literary award Saraswati Samman for his acclaimed 1996 novel Pratham Alo (First Light), the story of a young man during the country's freedom struggle.

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