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Indian court lifts ban on Nasrin book

CALCUTTA: An Indian court yesterday lifted a ban on a book by exiled Bangladeshi writer TASLIMA NASRIN in which she wrote about her sexual relations with Indian writers while living in India.

The ban was imposed by a court in November 2003 following a defamation suit filed by Calcutta-based poet SYED HASMAT JALAL, who challenged her claim about a sexual liaison with him. The book, her fourth, named several other Indian and Bangladeshi intellectuals.

Later that year, the 395-page Bengali-language book titled Dwikhandito, which translates as Split In Two, was banned by the Indian state of West Bengal on the grounds it hurt Muslim sentiments and was slanderous.

However, activists had challenged the ban saying it was against India's constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression.

A three-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court removed the ban saying the book was not defamatory.

"The book, taken as a whole, is a part of Taslima Nasrins autobiography, and the same has not been written with the intention of harming or causing injury to any class of the citizen in India," the judgement said.

Nasrin, who lives in Calcutta, welcomed the judgement.

"It's a victory of freedom of speech and democracy. The judgement will encourage the people to fight against injustice and speak the truth," she said.



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