In the wake of protests by certain minority groups and Muslim clerics, a Bengali television channel that was scheduled to telecast a serial scripted by controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen from Thursday evening, issued a statement in the day stating that the telecast had been deferred indefinitely.
“Although Aakash Aath [the channel] is willing and is ready to commence the telecast of Dusahobas [the serial] due to external pressure we have deferred the telecast of this serial indefinitely,” a spokesperson of the channel told The Hindu here.
Ms. Nasreen expressed her displeasure over the developments on a social networking site.
“To protect the … ‘sentiments’ of Muslims, governments are taking action against honest writers and artists, banning & censoring their works,” she tweeted.
The telecast of Dusahobas (translated roughly as unbearable cohabitation) was opposed by minority groups, including clerics, who said its going on air could hurt the sentiments of the community.
Welcoming the decision to defer the telecast of the serial, Chairman of the All-India Minority Forum Idris Ali said, “It is a victory of all those who have protested against the serial. It [the serial] was also an attempt to disrupt communal harmony in the State.”
In a statement earlier in the day, Aakash Aath said the serial was based on “women empowerment” and had “nothing to do with any religion or community whatsoever.”
Prominent cleric Maulana Nurur Rahman Barkati had told The Hindu this week that the serial based on Ms. Nasreen’s life is only an attempt to get “cheap publicity.” He said he had approached Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in this regard.
In February 2012, the organisers of the Kolkata Book Fair refused to release the seventh volume of Ms. Nasreen’s autobiographical series (Nirbasan) at the venue, fearing protests.
The author was forced to leave the city following violent protests, led by the All India Minority Forum on the city streets, against her in November 2007. She has not been allowed to return to the city since.