Tavleen Singh attacks Mamata over Rushdie episode

Kolkata, Feb 3: Writer-columnist Tavleen Singh Sunday lashed out at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, calling it a “shame” that Booker Prize winning author Salman Rushdie was forced to cancel his trip to Kolkata Jan 30.

“Shame on your CM that she did this. I really feel very bad. To tell you the truth, when I heard he had been banned from coming to Kolkata, I nearly decided not to come myself,” Tavleen Singh said at the Kolkata Literary Meet here.

“It is very very wrong what she did. I don’t care if she arrests me for making this point, but shame on your cm,” Tavleen Singh said two days after Rushdie alleged that he was forced to cancel his visit Wednesday as Mamata Banerjee had ordered police to block his arrival.

Trinamool Congress leader and Lok Sabha member Sultan Ahmed has confirmed that the government had told police not to allow the author of the controversial “The Satanic Verses” into the city as it would have led to law and order problems.

Tavleen Singh urged people to take a stand against the kind of “intellectual terrorism” that was going on.

“Politicians have no right to tell you what to read or write or what films you should make. And if you do not protest that loudly enough, we have all had it as a country,” she said.

Tavleen Singh regretted that the incident happened of all places in Kolkata.

“If in a city like Kolkata this can happen, it can happen anywhere,” she added.

Rushdie has been at the centre of storm for decades over “The Satanic Verses”, a novel perceived as anti-Islamic.

He was slated to visit here Jan 30 to promote “Midnight’s Children”, a film based on his novel. But hours before his arrival, Muslim groups under the banner of Milli Ittehad Parishad demonstrated near the airport.

IANS