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Last Updated: Friday, 30 November 2007, 09:53 GMT
Taslima Nasreen removes comment
Taslima Nasreen
Ms Nasreen faced death threats in Bangladesh
Controversial Bangladeshi feminist writer Taslima Nasreen has said she will withdraw some "controversial" lines from one of her books.

The lines are from Dwikhondito (Split into two) which, some Muslim groups say, are derogatory to Islam.

The book was banned by the government in India's West Bengal state where a quarter of the population is Muslim.

There have been violent protests against Ms Nasreen by Muslims in West Bengal's capital, Calcutta, recently.

She has been moved from one city to another in the last few days for her own safety after these protests and is now lodged in a safe house in the capital, Delhi.

The Indian government has pledged to continue to host and protect Ms Nasreen.

But External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told parliament that India expected its guest to behave as one.


Ms Nasreen told TV channels on Friday that she would be dropping some lines from Dwikhondito, her 2003 autobiography.

She said she had not wanted to "hurt anybody's religious sentiments" while writing the book.

"Now that some people in India have said they are upset with what I have said, I have decided to drop the controversial portions of the book and have told the publisher to take necessary action," Ms Nasreen said.

A car destroyed during riots in Calcutta
Protests against the author turned violent in Calcutta

"After these portions are removed, I think there will be no more scope for controversy and all the tension so far caused should die down."

Leading writers in Bengal have welcomed Ms Nasreen's move.

"It is a clever and a timely move. It is not a surrender to the fundamentalists but a compromise to tackle the present situation where Muslims across the board are feeling upset ," said Abul Bashar.

Shirshendu Mukherjee said Ms Nasreen's move should "assuage ruffled sentiments".

However, noted painter Shuvaprassana said Ms Nasreen had compromised by withdrawing the lines.

"This is a compromise that she has been forced into for the sake of getting refuge. But if she can drop two pages to get refuge in India, she can drop three pages and go back to Bangladesh," he said.

Death threats

Critics have accused the writer of calling for the Koran to be changed to give women greater rights, something she denies.

Ms Nasreen fled Bangladesh in the early 1990s after death threats and has spent the last three years in Calcutta after a long stay in Europe.

Last week, after the riots in Calcutta, Ms Nasreen was flown out of Calcutta in a special plane to Delhi from where she was taken to Jaipur in the western state of Rajasthan.

A day later, she was brought to Delhi where she spent a couple of nights in the Rajasthan government's guest house.

On Tuesday, she was moved again, this time to a safe house at an undisclosed location in Delhi.

Taslima Nasreen's Indian visa is valid until March 2008.

In August this year, she was giving a lecture in the southern city of Hyderabad when she was attacked by Muslims who said they had been upset by her remarks on the Prophet Muhammad and the Koran.

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