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Jaipur Lit Fest: Taslima Nasreen Bats for Uniform Civil Code, Says It's Necessity for India

Edited By: Ashish Yechury

News18.com

Last Updated: January 23, 2017, 16:40 IST

Screen grab of Taslima Nasreen at the Jaipur Literature Festival

Screen grab of Taslima Nasreen at the Jaipur Literature Festival

"If you have a set of laws for Hindus, if Hindu women can divorce their husbands and have a say in their property, and we have seen how progressive that has been, then why are Islamic fundamentalists against a uniform civil law? Is not having a uniform civil law democratic?" she asked.

Jaipur: Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen on Monday waded into the Uniform Civil Code debate, saying it was a necessity for India.

“Uniform Civil Code is necessary to protect women’s rights, irrespective of religion,” she said during a surprise session at the Jaipur Literature Festival. The session was kept confidential by the organisers till the last minute.

"If you have a set of laws for Hindus, if Hindu women can divorce their husbands and have a say in their property, and we have seen how progressive that has been, then why are Islamic fundamentalists against a uniform civil law? Is not having a uniform civil law democratic?" she asked.

Members of the Rajasthan Muslim Forum staged a protest against the author at the festival venue. They also shouted slogans against the organisers for inviting her discretely and “hurting their sentiments”.

Nasreen rose to fame after her 1993 novel Lajja, which garnered severe criticism in Bangladesh and forced her to leave the country.

She escaped to Sweden in 1994 and spent the next 10 years in exile in Europe and America. Coming to India in 2004, she settled in Kolkata where she lived till November 2007 and then moved to New Delhi. She again moved to Sweden in 2008 and later worked as a research scholar at New York University.

The controversial writer also said that criticism of Islam is the only way to establish secularism in Islamic countries. In conversation with Salil Tripathi, the chair of the Writers-in-Prison Committee of PEN International, Nasreen said: "When I or anyone else criticise Hinduism, Buddhism or other religions nothing happens. But the moment you criticise Islam, people come running after your life.”

The 55-year-old writer was quite critical of the clergy. "They issue fatwas against you and they want to kill you. But why do they need to do so? If they disagree with me, they can write against me, share their views like we do. They can have conversations rather than fatwas," she said.

"A uniform civil law is urgently needed in India for the protection of women. The fundamentalists should introspect and ask themselves why they are not ready to accept criticism,” she said further.

"What do you mean by secularism, does it require you to encourage Muslim fundamentalists? For Muslim votes, you throw a writer out of the country and continue to patronise misogynists," she added.

(With agency inputs)

first published:January 23, 2017, 15:38 IST
last updated:January 23, 2017, 16:40 IST
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