KOLKATA – Despite his reputation as a tough, no-nonsense police officer who has stood up to the government on several occasions, Nazrul Islam is soft-spoken and gentle, even when refusing to discuss the controversy surrounding his latest book, “Musalmander Koroniyo” (What Muslims Should Do).
“My intention is not to create, or fuel, any kind of controversy,” he said politely. (He also asked that his photo not be used in this interview.) But in the 102 page book, Mr. Islam minces no words in criticizing the West Bengal’s governing party, Trinamool Congress, and its leader, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the policies towards Muslims in the state. While taking care not to name Ms. Banerjee directly, his use of the term “Shashak daler Netri,” or female leader of the governing party, leaves no doubt about who he is referring to. In particular, the book criticizes new promises that Ms. Banerjee has made to provide stipends for imams and muezzins, who give the call to prayer, and the state’s plan to recognize 10,000 madrasas, calling the promises a “trick” to keep India’s Muslims poor and uneducated.
On Wednesday afternoon, India Ink met with Mr. Islam to discuss the book and his career: