Taslima faces Jaipur rerun in Kolkata

In a near rerun of Jaipur Literature Festival, the official launch of controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen’s new book Nirbasan (Exile) was unceremoniously cancelled at the Kolkata Book Fair by the Publishers and Booksellers Guild after protests by some Muslim organisations on Wednesday.

The book’s publishers, People’s Book Society, was told just hours before the event that the hall wouldn’t be available. “We were unofficially told a group of Muslim activists had lodged a protest at the Kolkata police headquarters and with the guild over the launch of Taslima’s book,” publisher Shibani Mukherjee said. However, the book was later released at the publisher’s own stall at the fair by author Nabarun Bhattacharya in the presence of writer Ranjan Bandopadhyay and human rights activist Sujato Bhadra.
The guild said it got calls from two groups — Milli Ittehad Parishad and All-India Minority Forum — saying “there would be protests” if the launch took place. “The Kolkata police said it had got similar calls,” said guild secretary Tridib Chatterjee. “We cannot put the tranquillity of the fair and the security of thousands of visitors at stake.”
Muslim activists later demonstrated outside the publisher’s stall to protest against the release. And Taslima tweeted: “Kolkata Book Fair cancelled my book release... Why? Some religious fanatics don’t want it to happen.”

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