Indian Cleric Files Police Case Against Muslim Feminist Writer Taslima Nasreen Over Twitter Comment; Another Cleric: ‘She Should Be Killed And Beheaded’
In the northern Indian town of Bareilly, an Islamic cleric has registered a police case against feminist Bangladeshi author and columnist Taslima Nasreen for hurting the religious sentiments of Muslims through her comments on the micro-blogging site Twitter. Nasreen, following threats from Bangladeshi Islamists, resides in India.
The First Information Report (FIR), which paves the way for police and court proceedings, was filed by Hasan Raza Khan Noori Miyan, and seems to be politically motivated. In a recent tweet, Nasreen had questioned a meeting between Delhi’s politician Arvind Kejriwal and Tauqeer Raza Khan, a cleric of Bareilly, with Kejriwal’s meeting being seen as a move to court Muslims voters.
The current police case involves a tweet in which Nasreen compares criminals with muftis.
The following are excerpts from a report on the controversy, as reported by The Times of India daily:
“The Complaint Lodged By Hasan Raza Khan Noori Miyan Takes Serious Objection To Taslima’s Tweet In Which She Says: ‘In India, Criminals Who Issue Fatwas (Edicts) Against Women Don’t Get Punished'”
“The complaint lodged by Hasan Raza Khan Noori Miyan takes serious objection to Taslima’s tweet in which she says: ‘In India, criminals who issue fatwas (edicts) against women don’t get punished.’ Hasan Raza Khan Noori Miyan in his complaint said a mufti (qualified Islamic scholar) issues fatwas in the light of the teachings of the sacred book [the Koran] and Hadith (references to Islam that were penned down by noted religious leaders of the prophet’s era). By describing the muftis as criminals, Taslima Nasreen had hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims, says Hasan Raza Khan in his complaint that was submitted at the City Kotwali police station in Bareilly late Wednesday night [December 4, 2013].
“Interestingly, Hasan Raza Khan Noori Miyan is the son of ‘Sajjada Nasheen’ [hereditary administrator] of Dargah Ala Hazrat Maulana Subhan Raza Khan Subhani Miyan who in turn happens to be a mufti from the Barelvi sect of the Sunni Muslim community himself. Earlier, Maulana Subhan Raza Khan’s name had hit the headlines for supporting a reference issued by Darul Uloom Deoband against compulsory singing of [Indian] national song ‘Vande Mataram’ by schoolchildren.
“Commenting on the FIR, Nasreen tweeted on Thursday evening that she was facing a police case for speaking the truth. “… Hasan Raza Khan Noori Miyan did not at least deny that a fatwa was issued or a price was set on my head. He said it was issued ‘in the light of the Hadith and the Koran….’ She tweeted further, ‘Nobody is allowed to set a price on anyone’s head in India. The fatwas are illegal here. It is against the Indian constitution. But it seems Noori Miyan does not care. The [another] cleric Tauqeer Raza Khan is wrong if he claims that I am wrong, because I say he is anti-free speech. Noori Miyan is now saying I am a criminal. Am I a criminal because I have told the truth?’
“Her tweets had read: ‘He believes I hurt religious feelings of the entire Muslim community. Is it a crime to tell the truth? Did I commit a crime or hurt Muslim community by telling the truth about Tauqeer Raza Khan that he was against free speech, so he issued fatwa? The truth only hurts liars and hypocrites. All Muslims in India are not afraid of truth, nor are they liars and hypocrites. Some are, of course. And they always use the name of whole community for their own political interests. Should it be continued? And fatwas continued to be issued, court cases continued to be filed and FIRs continued to registered against writers and artists?'”
Tauqeer Raza Khan
Tauqeer Raza Khan: ‘Taslima Has Put Muslims To Shame In Her Writing; She Should Be Killed And Beheaded, And Anyone Who Does This Will Get A Reward From The Council’
“The controversy stems from Taslima’s tweet over Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal meeting Tauqeer Raza Khan, a senior cleric of the Barelvi sect, in early November. Nasreen had then disapproved of the development on grounds that Tauqeer Raza Khan had declared a 500,000 Rupees bounty on her head in 2007 after taking serious offence to the contents of Taslima’s book where she had referred to Islam. This was followed by violent protests over renewal of her visa [by the Indian government], which in turn eventually saw her being bundled out of Kolkata by the authorities to Delhi.
“‘Taslima has put Muslims to shame in her writing. She should be killed and beheaded, and anyone who does this will get a reward from the council,’ Tauqeer Raza Khan, president of Ittehad-e-Millat Council (IeMC), had declared after taking serious offence to the contents of her book carrying reference to Islam. Recently, Tauqeer Raza Khan had cozied up with the [state’s ruling] Samajwadi Party (SP) and even shared the stage with SP national president Mulayam Singh Yadav and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav at a recent political rally….
“On the basis of the complaint, the Kotwali police have registered a case against Nasreen under section 295 (A) of the Indian Penal Code and section 66 A of the Information Technology Act. Section 295A covers deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.
“The law provides for punishment of either description for a term which may extend to 8 years, or fine or both. Section 66 A of the IT Act is a bail-able offence which provides for jail term of up to three years for anyone sending, by means of a computer resource or communication device, any information which is grossly offensive, menacing, causes annoyance or hatred….”
Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com, December 6, 2013. The original English of the report has been mildly edited for clarity and standardization.