Activists to file PIL seeking telecast of Taslima serial

Kolkata, Dec 27 : Accusing the West Bengal government of forcing abandonment of the telecast of a serial based on controversial author Taslima Nasreen's writings, a section of intellectuals and rights activists Friday said they would file a PIL seeking immediate broadcast of the programme.

"Dusahobas" was scheduled to be screened Monday to Saturday on Aakash Aath from Dec 19, but the channel pulled out in the last minute after some minority religious groups objected to its screening.

Quoting a letter written by channel producer Ishita Surana to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, right activist Sujato Bhadra said the channel was forced to axe the screening following threats of police action as well as vandalism by religious groups.

"How can a serial which has obtained a censor certificate be forced to be withdrawn? Surana in her letter has written that she was forced to do so because a senior police officer threatened action if the serial was telecast and anything untoward happened," said Bhadra.

Eminent litterateurs including Mahasweta Devi, Shankha Ghosh and Joy Goswami issued statements dubbing the axing of the telecast as a direct assault on a writer's freedom of speech and expression and demanded the serial be immediately allowed to be telecast.

Bhadra said Concerned Citizens for Freedom of Expression - a forum of activists and intellectuals - was in discussion with legal experts about filing a PIL against the abandonment of the telecast.

"The state government is aware that it has no legal basis to stop the telecast. So it has chosen other avenues and forced the channel to take this step. After being banned, the Supreme Court had allowed the telecast of Govind Nihalani-directed Tamas. So we are planning to file a PIL," said Bhadra.

Accusing the Mamata Banerjee government of conceding ground to communal sentiments for the sake of vote banks, women's rights activist Saswati Ghosh said banning of the serial was a further blot to the city which had earlier driven out the exiled Bangladeshi author.

Exiled from Bangladesh in 1994 for "hurting religious sentiments" with her novel "Lajja", Nasreen took refuge in the city in 2004. But after violent protests in the city November 2007, the erstwhile Left Front government whisked her away to New Delhi where she has been residing since then.

--IANS (Posted on 27-12-2013)

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