Teacher arrested for having a copy of a book by Taslima Nasrin,
Police found a copy of Lajja (Shame), in the school library. The famous novel banned since 1993 for "blasphemy". Forced to flee death threats since 1994, the author comments: "This arrest proves that Bangladesh is not a democracy but a totalitarian regime."
Dhaka (AsiaNews) - The principal of a technical school in the district of Pirojpur (southern Bangladesh) was arrested for possession of a copy of Lajja (Shame), the famous novel by writer Taslima Nasrin. The book has been banned in Bangladesh since 1993 because it is considered blasphemous against Islam the state religion. The teacher, Yunus Ali, faces up to three years in prison.
The police took him out of the KC Technical and Business Management College after finding a copy of the book in the school library. Ali defended himself against accusations claiming to be the victim of a conspiracy. The inspector Abdul Malek said: "Lajja is a banned book. Nevertheless, the principal kept it in the library. He must answer for this crime. "
In Lajja, Taslima Nasrin, 49, tells the life of a Hindu family persecuted by Muslims. The author had to flee the country in 1994 after receiving death threats from Islamic fundamentalists. Since then, she has lived between India and Europe, without being able to return to Bangladesh. Her family is Muslim, but today she proclaims herself to be atheist.
Contacted by AsiaNews, Nasrin said: "The arrest of this teacher is a sign that Bangladesh is not in reality a democracy but a totalitarian regime. Since 1990, Islamic fundamentalists have silenced my freedom of expression and tried to kill me, forced me to flee my country and leave my family. "
Now, she concluded, "someone is in danger because of my book, and risks his freedom. But Lajja is not a novel of blasphemy: it is just the defense of a persecuted religious [Hindu] minority, one that is constantly harassed by the Muslim majority. I wish the best for this man and for those who are every day deprived of their freedom of expression. " (GM)