The 77th National Convention of the Rationalist Association of India meeting in Palanpur, Gujarat, with over 200 Human Rights, Humanist, Rationalist, Secularist, and Atheist participants from various parts of the country, expresses its horror, and condemns in the strongest terms the threats held out to our Humanist colleague Taslima Nasrin by Muslim fundamentalists, and the subsequent reaction by the state government of West Bengal.
Taslima Nasrin came to India to seek refuge and the protection of the Indian State and the Indian Constitution at a time when she faced threats to her life in her own country because of her bold and modern views. The Indian government and the government of West Bengal state have done much to protect this courageous Humanist in the last several years.
This Convention calls upon the Government of India and other state governments to continue to recognise and carry out their legal and moral duty to protect Taslima Nasrin and her moral and intellectual freedoms, and to ensure her physical security. Contrary to those who have broken the laws of the land and vandalised public property and extended death threats – all of which are acts punishable under the Indian Penal Code, Taslima Nasrin has broken no Indian law and has only advocated rights for women, and defended ideas, values and rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution.
This Convention demands that the culprits be punished and Taslima Nasrin be honoured by the central and state governments for her unflinching commitment to the modern and democratic values of the freedom of expression and the freedom of religion or belief, which also includes the freedom not to hold any belief.