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Writers muzzled by Bangladesh's censorship

Books are banned for hurting religious sentiments in another blow to freedom of speech

Writers muzzled by Bangladesh's censorship

Muslims visit a stall at Amor Ekushey Book Fair in Dhaka on Feb. 19. The Supreme Court has banned two books and ordered their removal from the fair on grounds of hurting religious feelings. (Photo: Stephan Uttom/UCA News)

Bangladesh’s top court has banned two books by an atheist blogger for allegedly hurting religious sentiments in the Muslim-majority country that has seen a deadly rise of radicalism and brutal murders of bloggers and free thinkers in recent times.

The Supreme Court banned two books — Dia Arefin and Grandmother’s Dictum — written by Darais Arag, an atheist blogger, on Feb. 26 and ordered them to be removed from Amor Ekushey Boilmela, the country’s largest annual book fair.

The court also ordered Bangla Academy, the organizer of the book fair, to cancel the stall of Sristhighar, the publisher of the books.

The order was in response to a petition filed by lawyer Azharullah Bhuiyan. "The contents of both the books hurt religious beliefs and an individual’s choice of clothing. The contents could incite communal riots in the country,” Bhuiyan told journalists.

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