Mumbai Urdu daily editor hounded despite apology for reproducing Prophet cartoon

Mohammed Wajihuddin,TNN | Jan 31, 2015, 12.58 AM IST
Mumbai: Shirin Dalvi, editor of Urdu daily Avadhnama, has not gone home in Thane’s Mumbra, a Muslim-dominated township, since her paper reproduced the cover of French magazine Charlie Hebdo with a controversial cartoon of Prophet Mohammed on January 17.

The next day, Dalvi (46) unconditionally apologized for “any hurt the image might have caused to the readers”, but her ordeal, she says, is far from over. She lost her job as the paper’s Mumbai edition closed on January 19 and is now making the rounds of several police stations where cases have been filed against her.

“I have not seen my daughter in the last 10 days. My children’s books and uniforms are at home and they have not been attending college. I am staying with a friend,” said Dalvi on Friday. Her children are living with relatives.

On Wednesday, the Mumbra police granted her bail. She has got extension to interim bail for cases filed with N M Joshi Marg police, J J and Nagpada police. They have been clubbed at N M Joshi Marg police station. She said cases have also been filed in Rabodi and Malegaon.

Asked why she chose to reproduce Charlie Hebdo’s controversial cover when it has angered Muslims globally, Dalvi said: “We juxtaposed it with news of the Pope’s statement where he criticized the Prophet cartoons and said freedom of expression was not absolute and religious beliefs should not be mocked in the name of this freedom. Apart from a front page apology, I also wrote an editorial clarifying that my love and respect for the Prophet is next to none. Yet I am being harassed.”

Widow of noted Urdu poet Abdullah Kamal and mother of two (a son and daughter, both of whom are in college), Dalvi has been an Urdu journalist for nearly 15 years. She writes poetry and short stories too, and has a few books of translation to her credit, including former police commissioner Satyapal Singh’s Insaan Ki Talash.

Before turning editor with Avadhnama’s Mumbai edition on July 26, 2014, she was associate editor with Sahafat and had contributed for many years to Hindustan, both mainline Urdu dailies.

Editors of Urdu papers agree Dalvi committed a mistake, but say she shoMumbai Urdu daily editor hounded despite apology for reproducing Prophet cartoon