Exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin on Monday said she had to criticise religions that oppress women and called for the imposition of a Uniform Civil Code in India. “Because I write about women and women’s rights, I have to criticise religions that oppress women. It is necessary for Islamic society to be tolerant and accept this. Uniform civil code is urgently needed for women’s rights,” she said at the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival, according to DNA.
Nasrin went on to raise doubts about the presence of secularism in India and accused the government of encouraging Muslim fanatics to issue fatwas against people. “We proudly say that this country is secular. But what do you mean by secularism? Why do you encourage Muslim fanatics to issue fatwas against people? For Muslim votes, you throw secular people out of the country and encourage Muslim fanatics who don’t believe in democracy and human rights,” she said, according to The Times of India.
The writer also accused West Bengal Chief Minsiter Mamata Banerjee of being noncommittal to secularism and working with Kolkata-based Imam Syed Noor-ur-Rehman Barkati, who had issued a fatwa against her.
Nasrin’s presence at the lit fest was not well-received by all. There were protests even though the discussion on her memoir Exile was held with utmost secrecy.
Muhammad Sajid of the Azmat e Namus e Rasool and Rajasthan Muslim Forum Convenor Qari Moinuddin were among those protesting against Nasrin being invited to the event. “We will not allow Taslima Nasreen, who has been writing against the Quran in her books, to attend this [ZeeJLF],” they said.
Moinuddin had also led the protests against author Salman Rushdie’s invitation to the festival’s 2012 edition. Festival producer Sanjoy Roy told DNA, “I heard them out and explained that we supported minorities in every way.”