Alleging that the Kolkata Police pressurised a Bengali TV channel against telecast of a serial written by exiled Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen, a group of intellectuals and activists today said that it was against the freedom of speech.
Jnanpith awardee eminent litterateur Mahasweta Devi, poets Shankha Ghosh and Joy Goswami, issued protest statements saying it was a violation of freedom of speech and expression.
They also demanded that the government must ensure that the channel was able to telecast the serial immediately.
A group of minority leaders had warned the newly-launched 'Aakash Aath' channel to abandon the telecast of the serial 'Dusahobas' (translated roughly as living in difficulty) on the ground that it hurt religious sentiments.
Following protests, the channel postponed the serial indefinitely.
Rights activist Sujato Bhadra said the channel was forced to stop the telecast after warning from the Kolkata Police that it would lead to communal tension.
"They were pressurised and forced to stop its telecast. This is an assault on the freedom of speech and expression," he told PTI adding that they were thinking of taking legal steps to ensure telecast of the serial.
Nasreen, who drew the ire of fundamentalists for her controversial books like 'Lajja' and 'Dwikhandito', has said this was another attempt to gag her and was a violation of her right to speech and expression.
At last year's Kolkata Book Fair, the launch of one of her books was cancelled over protest by Muslim fundamentalists, though all of her books are available freely in the market.