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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 August 2007, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Protesters attack author Nasreen
Hyderabad press club attack 0908
Ms Nasreen had to back into a corner at the book launch
Muslim protesters have attacked controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen during a book launch in Andhra Pradesh state in southern India.

Lawmakers and members of a political party assaulted the exiled feminist author as she presented a translation of one of her novels in Hyderabad.

Ms Nasreen, who backed into a corner, said the attack was barbaric but pledged she would not be cowed.

Many Muslims have accused Ms Nasreen of ridiculing Islam.

Protected

Ms Nasreen was launching a Telugu language version of a novel at the press club in Hyderabad.

About 100 protesters, including three lawmakers, from the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen party burst in, shouting that the author was "anti-Islam".

Ms Nasreen backed into a corner as objects rained down and she was threatened with a chair, witnesses said. One witness said Ms Nasreen was slapped.

She was protected by others at the meeting and was later taken to safety by police.

Officers detained the three lawmakers and a number of other protesters.

Ahmad Pasha Quadri, one of the lawmakers, said: "Our protest is against Taslima Nasreen because of her writings ridiculing Islam. We want the Indian government to send her back to Bangladesh."

The writer left Bangladesh for Sweden in 1994 after her controversial writing there led to calls for her execution.

She has lived in Calcutta for the past two years and has applied for Indian citizenship.

Critics say she called for the Koran to be changed to give women greater rights, but she vehemently denied making the comments.

Bangladesh banned one of her books in 2004 for what it called objectionable comments about Islam.

Ms Nasreen has spoken out against religion as an oppressive force and was awarded the Sakharov Prize for freedom of expression in 1994 in Europe.




SEE ALSO
Cleric quizzed over author threat
27 Jun 06 |  South Asia
Indian state lifts ban on writer
22 Sep 05 |  South Asia
Taslima Nasreen gets Indian visa
01 Sep 05 |  South Asia
Writers support Taslima Nasreen
07 Apr 05 |  South Asia
Effigies of writer burned
21 Jan 04 |  South Asia
Bangladesh court sentences Taslima
13 Oct 02 |  South Asia

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