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No freedom of speech, expression for Taslima: Ray

No freedom of speech, expression for Taslima: Ray

Author: Express news service
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: February 11, 2008
URL: http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/No-freedom-of-speech-expression-for-Taslima-Ray/271573/
Former chief minister Siddhartha Shankar Roy offered a middle path to resolve the stalemate on Taslima Nasreen's visa extension on Sunday.

With the author's visa set to expire on February 16, the Milli Ittihad Parishad, West Bengal had organised a discussion to reiterate their opposition to her stay here.

Roy suggested that Nasreen's case could be "reconsidered" if she gave a "written undertaking" she would refrain from writing offending passages in the future.

He criticised Nasreen for her lack of "sincere repentance" for her novel Dwikhandito, which hurt the religious sentiments of people in Kolkata. The author should remove all similar writings from her books, he said.

"In the undertaking, she should state she had no intention of hurting the feelings of anyone and regrets her action. She should say she will not write any offensive phrases in the future, as long as she is in India and will not permit such works to be published here," Roy said.

Siddiqullah Chowdhury, the convenor of the Milliitehad Parishad, an umbrella organisation of 12 minority bodies, had earlier dismissed any possibility of "forgiving" Nasreen.

Chowdhury said: "We made our stand clear months ago. We are against the extension of her visa. Now it is up to the Centre to make its stand clear. If they still give her a visa extension, we will have to decide on our next course of action."

Roy also pointed out that Taslima should not be entitled to any freedom of speech and expression, as she was not a "citizen" of India.

He proposed that a letter be sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi with demands that Taslima should write the undertaking. The next course of action should be decided after receiving the author's response.

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