The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Taslima booked, not tormentor MLA

Hyderabad, Aug. 11: City police have registered a case against Taslima Nasreen but none against those who have threatened to kill her.

The case, for promoting ill-will between religious groups, was registered on a complaint by an MLA who has said the Bangladeshi writer would be assassinated if she ever set foot in Hyderabad again.

Majlis-e-Itahadul-Musalmeen MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi had made the threat on Thursday, hours after three other MLAs of his party had led a mob to a book release and attacked Taslima, pelting her with books, bags and bouquets.

Although cases have been registered against the three MLAs, who got bail the same day, none has been filed yet against Akbaruddin, the son of Musalmeen founder Sultan Salauddin Owaisi.

The police said they had approached a court for permission to register a case against Akbaruddin. But they admitted that none had been registered against the Majlis Bachao Tehreek, which has said it would have murdered Taslima on Thursday had its plans not been upset by the Musalmeen’s “amateurish” attack.

A senior police officer justified filing the case against the writer.

“Taslima is a controversial personality and her writings have always provoked the religious-minded,” said the deputy commissioner of police, N. Madhusudhan Reddy.

The first information report, registered last night at Punjagutta police station, says Taslima has a habit of slinging mud on Islam and making heinous charges against the religion.

The organisers of the book release, the Centre for Inquiry headed by N. Innaiah, have also been charged with holding the programme without informing the police or taking their permission.

“Who would have been responsible if the Musalmeen MLAs or Tehreek activists had succeeded in harming her” was the logic provided by an officer.

Asked about the death threat he had issued, Akbaruddin said he had only sought to implement the fatwa issued by Bangladeshi clerics against Taslima.

Another outfit, the Dasgah-e-Jehad-Shaheed, today held a march, with the protesters chanting: “Taslima go away from India.”

The marchers, who included many burqa-clad women, burnt an effigy of the writer.

“Taslima is a bad apple in the Islamic community. Throw her out of the country,” said Rehanussia Begum, schoolteacher and Dasgah activist.

Rights groups have criticised the police for their failure to protect Taslima and the delay in action against the Musalmeen MLAs and activists.

N. Saida Rao of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties said the attack by the MLAs amounted to a violation of the Representation of the People Act and undermined the country’s secular character.

A few Maoist groups, too, condemned the “cowardly” attack by “misguided religious and Rightist groups”.

After the incident at the press club, where the translation of one of Taslima’s books was released, the police never let Taslima out of their sight till she caught a Calcutta flight the same evening. She was confined within the airport restaurant for over three hours under police security.

“She wanted to do some shopping at Charminar and Pathergatti but could not,” one of the organisers said.

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