Bangladeshi publisher remanded in custody over "anti-Islam" book

Bangladeshi police on Tuesday remanded a publisher and two other people in custody for publishing and distributing a book that allegedly offended Muslim religious sentiment.

A magistrates court in the capital Dhaka granted the investigators permission to question Shamsuzzoha Manik, owner of the Ba-Dwip publishing house, one of his office executives and a printing press owner over the publication of Islam Bitorko (Debate over Islam), police officer Zafar Ullah Biswas said.

Police also closed down a makeshift bookstall at the annual book fair on Dhaka University campus where the book, compiled by Manik, had been put on display for sale.

"Eighty-one copies of the book were confiscated from the stall," according to Abdul Baten, a senior officer at Dhaka Metropolitan Police.

He said the bookstall was closed after readers complained on a social media site that the book featured controversial content on Islam.

"It seems the book gravely hurt religious sentiment of Muslims," said Baten, adding he had read the book. 

According to Baten, the publisher and two others are sued under Information Communication Technology law that stipulates a maximum of 14 years in prison, if they are found guilty.

At least four secularist bloggers and a publisher were killed by suspected Islamist militants in Bangladesh in 2015 after criticizing Islam in the Muslim-majority South Asian country.

Among them was the Bangladeshi-born US writer Avijit Roy, who was stabbed to death near the book fair venue on February 26, 2015. He had been the founder of a freethinking blog.

Last update: Tue, 16/02/2016 - 20:12

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