At Jaipur Literature Festival on Monday Taslima Nasreen’s argument of applying Uniform Civil Law to raise the status of Muslim women in the country drew a protest by several organisations, after which the Bangladeshi writer and activist will not be invited to the function in the future, said the organisers.
Nasreen was there at an impromptu session where she spoke about Muslim women who are oppressed because there are some Islamic fundamentalists who wouldn’t hear any criticism of Islam. Many organisations like Rajasthan Muslim Forum, All India Milli Council, Jamaat-e-Islami and Muslim Personal Law Board against this saying she is a “disputed” personality as she is living in exile since 1994 for her controversial book, Lajja. The protesters demanded that she should not be invited again.
Sanjoy K Roy, Producer of JLF told PTI, “They expressed their anger…. I heard them out. Explained we supported minorities in every way. Underscored that we are a platform for all points of view. Agreed that we should consider their request not to reinvite them.”
Protesters told PTI Nasreen’s name was not in the catalogue of the Jaipur Literature Festival this year. The police and organisers supported her inspite knowing her “disputed” reputation.
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Nasreen was there at the Writers-in-Prison Committee of PEN International for session named Exile on Monday. She spoke about her new book Exile. During her talk she said, “Without serious criticism of Islam, you will not be able to make Islamic countries secular. The women will continue to suffer and be oppressed,” she said.
“I don’t believe in nationalism, religious fundamentalism. I believe in one world. I believe in rights, freedom, humanism and rationalism. Until Islam accepts criticism, no Islamic country can be considered secular. Whenever I criticise, people want to kill me,” she said. Nasreen is mostly noted for her awards in literature and her daring criticism of religion.