SAHMAT Press Statement to Condemn Attack on Taslima Nasreen on 9 August 2007

SAHMAT strongly condemns the violent attck on Bangladeshi Novelist Taslima Nasreen in Hyderabad on August 8, 2007 at a Telugu translation of the novelist’s latest book Shodh.

It is reported that around 20 MIM workers led by MLAs Afsar Khan, Ahmad Pasha and Mozum Khan stormed the Press Club premises and raised slogans against the author. They attacked her with bouquets, flower pots and virtually anything they could lay their hands on at the concluding session of the book release.
Taslima Nasreen has been a target of attack from fundamentalist forces both in India and Bangladesh.
We appeal to the democratic minded people in India to join in the condemnation of such attacks and isolate those who preach intolerance and violence.

SAHMAT Press Statement on Taslima Nasreen on 23 November 2007

We strongly protest the recent rioting in Kolkata by Muslim fundamentalist and other forces against the Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin and her subsequent “externment” from that city. 

As creative and thinking people we are convinced that an enlightened and democratic state should have the capacity to ensure the right of liberty and freedom of speech to all individuals, especially artists, writers, musicians, thespians, filmmakers.

In a civilised and modern world, while one may or may not agree with the views or works of any particular thinker, writer, painter, dramatist or filmmaker, we should stand united to defend his or her right to express the same in an unfettered manner without violence, threat or hindrance from fundamentalist forces and frenzied mobs openly exhibiting extreme intolerance, ignorance and bigotry.

We are happy that Shri Biman Bose has revised his statement asking Ms Taslima Nasreen to leave West Bengal if her presence disturbs peace in that state. It still remains a matter of great anxiety that Ms Nasrin has left Kolkotta for Jaipur and now New Delhi.

What is particularly frightening is the fact that this is not the first time in recent history that such a situation has been created by sectarian forces and the reaction of the State has been identical. We have had to face almost exactly the same situation in regard to the veteran painter M F Husain who has had to stay away from India due to the threats of extremist Hindu groups.

We welcome the call for giving Taslima Nasreen Indian citizenship in the face of extreme fundamentalism in her country.

However, we would like to underline the unabashed duplicity exhibited by the Hindu fundamentalist forces in this matter when they continue to viciously persecute M F Husain. As Gandhiji said, Truth, after all, is Indivisible.
Ram Rahman, Amiya Bagchi, S. Kalidas, Siddharth Vardharajan, Indira Chandrasekhar, M.K.Raina, Parthiv Shah, Prabhat Patnaik, Chanchal Chauhan, MMP Singh, Vishnu Nagar, Sohail Hashmi, D. N. Jha, Vishnu Khare, Rajendra Yadav, Ibbar Rabbi, Javeed, Alam, Utsa Patnaik, Anil Bhatti, Ruchira Gupta, Sabina Sehegal, Shikha Trivedi, Vipra Srivastava, Yogesh Puri, Jai Prakash, Bernita Bagchi, Zakia Zaheer, Rana Barua, Subodh Gupta, C.P.Chandrasekhar, Saleem Kidwai, Lady Kishwar Desai, Arjun Dev, Anuradha Marwah, Asad Zaidi, D.N.Verma, Jayati Ghosh, Venkatesh Athreya, Rimli Bhattacharya, Aijaz Ahmad, Rajat Tandon, Shamsul Islam, C.K.Raju, Nirmalangshu Mukherjee, Radha Kumar, Rajeev Dhavan, Anil Sadgopal, Harsha Vardhana Swaminathan

Letter of thanks from Taslima Nasreen
I am grateful to you and all the members of SAHMAT for the support, solidarity and sympathy that you have shown to me.
Hope the situation will be changed and I will be able to go back to my home in Kolkata.
Thank you again for standing by me. I am sure we  have sahmat or same ideas on issues like democracy, secularism and freedom of expression.

With warm regards
Taslima Nasreen.