ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Assault on Taslima: Abuse of Article 16

The attack on Taslima Nasreen in Hyderabad on August 9, 2007 by legislators belonging to the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) is yet another instance of the steady criminalisation of politics in the country. What followed the attack is even more disturbing. While the Hyderabad police booked the MIM legislators under fairly inoffensive charges, they went ahead and booked a case against Taslima Nasreen for hurting the religious sentiments of Muslims. The political motivation for the MIM is clear. Having ruled the destiny of the Muslims in Hyderabad’s old city for decades, the MIM has steadily been losing ground to the Majlis Bachao Tehreek and the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Taslima Nasreen’s presence in Hyderabad provided the MIM a perfect opportunity to reclaim its dwindling status as the sole spokesperson of Muslim interests in the state.

The MIM leaders remain unfazed by the criticism that has come from all right-thinking and civilised sections of society. A day after the incident, the MIM leaders vowed to eliminate Taslima Nasreen and also prevent her from ever entering the city again. They argued that for them their religion was higher than the Constitution of India. A closer look at this statement shows that they have singular disregard for god as well as the Constitution. Records show that the MLAs who physically assaulted the exiled Bangladeshi author had, indeed, sworn in the name of god to protect and preserve the Constitution.

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