On August 9th, the firebrand Bangladeshi author-in-exile Taslima Nasrin was attacked by a group of MIM (Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen) activists during a function held at the Press Club in Hyderabad, India. The MIM claimed that the author had made offensive statements against Islam during the book release function, thus inciting the attack. The group have also lodged a police complaint based on which a case has been lodged against Taslima under Section 153-A (inciting enmity between different groups) of the Indian Penal Code.
Bangla author Taslima Nasrin being protected from hecklers at the Press Club in Hyderabad. Photograph:Noah Seelam/ AFP
On the other hand, the attack has been strongly denounced by the media and public and the government has been criticised for its soft approach towards the attackers. The incident is quickly taking on a political dimension. With local elections round the corner, experts say that the MIM is likely to use it as a tool to mobilise Muslim votes.
The attack has created ripples in the Bangla blog world as well. The Hidden God strongly denounces the attack on the author. He says:
“তসলিমা লেখালেখির মাধ্যমে নিজের মত প্রকাশ করেছেন তাই কেউ যদি তার প্রতিবাদ করতে চায় তবে তাও লেখালেখির মাধ্যমেই করা উচিত । এভাবে অসামাজিক কাজকর্ম করে নয় “
Taslima has expressed her views in writing so anyone wanting to protest against her views should also do so through writing and not through anti-social acts such as this attack on her.
Kazi Alim Zamal too has strong words for the attackers. Also, he feels that the Indian government should grant Taslima her request for citizenship.
Other bloggers like Arif feel that the ban on Taslima should be lifted in Bangladesh and she should be allowed to return to her country of birth. In the comments section of the same post, various bloggers like Bhaskar, Balai etc., have agreed with Arif's point of view and also added that adequate security should be provided to Taslima, who has a fatwa on her life issued by Islamic fundamentalists.