Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mamata backing fundamentalists: Taslima

The exiled author Taslima Nasrin has accused West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee of backing hardline Muslims instead of protecting writers.

She said the Left Front had driven her out of the country so that the minority votes went its way. "But did they eventually get the votes?" the controversial feminist author was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying.

"How much do I really matter in swaying a vote bank?"

Mamata's Trinamool Congress ended the world's longest-serving democratically elected communist government in elections in May last year but there has been no talk of Taslima's return.

Instead, a function to launch her latest book was cancelled and she now says she has become 'a victim of political convenience'.

"Both the (erstwhile) Left Front government and the one led by Mamata Banerjee prefer appeasing fundamentalists rather than protecting the writers," she was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times on Saturday.

Taslima told Hindustan Times over the phone that though a few 'pro-change' intellectuals had earlier voiced Bring Back Taslima campaigns during the Left Front regime, now they are silent which is 'astonishing'.

She believes that the people who raised their voice to bring her back to the country have started disliking her but she said, "I don't understand why they did not raise their voices this time."

According to reports, her book 'Nirbashan' (The Exile) was scheduled to be launched at the Kolkata Book Fair on Wednesday. The event was cancelled after some minority community leaders met the police and expressed reservations against it. But the publisher, People's Book Society, released the book at its stall.

The latest instalment of Taslima's autobiography details the circumstances of her forced exile from Kolkata in November 2007 following threats from Islamic fundamentalists who were protesting her book 'Dwikhandito' (Divided).

Nirbashan was released in Ekushey Book Fair in Dhaka on Thursday. 'Dwikhondito' was banned in Kolkata while other autobiographies 'Amar Meye Bela', 'Utol Hawa', 'Dwikhondito' and 'Shey Shob Ondhokar' were banned in Bangladesh. Other than these, her novels 'Ka' and 'Lajja' are also banned in Bangladesh.