21 November 2007

Anti-Taslima protesters riot in Kolkata

Protesters led by the All-India Minority Forum, a group dominated by Muslims, have barricaded several major streets in Kolkata and attacked the policemen who had been sent to dispersed them. The rioters are demanding that the Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, who has been accused on insulting Islam in her homeland, be expelled from India. According to the All-India Minority Forum, Taslima had "seriously hurt Muslim sentiments" by calling for revisions to the Qur'an, an accusation she denies. The protesters also wanted to express their disaffection with the recent violence in the Nandigram region of West Bengal.

According to Kolkata's chief of police, Gautam Chakrabarty, "the protesters started pelting policemen with brick bats and acid bottles in several places." As a result, the army was called in to restore order. Idris Ali, an All-India Minority Forum leader, said that agents provocateurs working for West Bengal's Communist government had caused the violence in order to discredit the protests. However, Biman Bose, the leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), countered the accusation, saying of the protesters, "they have planned the trouble, they must take the blame for this mayhem" (BBC).

Frankly, Ali's attempt to blame the Communists for the riot looks pathetic. I think Indian Muslims have a lot to learn from North American Muslims: arguments should be countered with arguments, books with books, not with riots. If someone disagrees with Taslima's views, they should challenge or criticise her in the press or in books of their own that attempt to disprove what Taslima makes out to be true. Instead, when literary criticism and political disagreement takes the form of a riot, with protesters throwing stuff at the police, the first victim is sanity.

No comments:

Something Even More Magical

In other news...