Shirin Dalvi, the Editor of an Urdu daily, is living in constant fear of persecution even after she publicly apologised for publishing a cartoon of Prophet Mohammad in her paper which has now shut down and whose website has been hacked.
The Editor of 'Avadhnama', in this moving blog on NDTV, said she was "feeling insecure and unsafe".
"I have lost my job, my reputation has been tarnished and I have nowhere to go. I am a single mother with two children, and they are my greatest worry. What happens to their future? Even after apologising, I am being threatened that "an apology is not enough," she said.
The Mumbai edition has shut down after the cartoon triggered a massive outrage. "I and many others have lost our jobs. I apologize to all of them for their hardship. But can I now appeal to those who are still upset: please forgive, forget and move ahead," Dalvi said.
Meanwhile, a Mumbai court has extended her bail. Additional Sessions Judge A J Patangankar adjourned the hearing of the anticipatory bail application of Dalvi and extended her interim protection from arrest till February 10.
The Mumbai police opposed granting of pre-arrest bail to Dalvi saying it would create law and order problem as people from the Muslim community were outraged over reproduction of the cartoon published by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which was the target of a terror attack last month.
"The accused, Shirin Dalvi, editor of an Urdu daily Avadhnama, has hurt the sentiments of the Muslim community and granting her anticipatory bail will create law and order problem," the police told the court.
Dalvi was arrested from Mumbra in neighbouring Thane district following a complaint after the cartoon was published on January 17 and released on bail by the concerned court later.
However, another case was registered against her with the N M Joshi Marg police station in Mumbai after which she approached the sessions court here last week to seek anticipatory bail, claiming the article was non-defamatory and did not hurt the religious sentiments of anybody.
Dalvi has been forced to go into hiding and wear a burqa after the incident, Firstpost reported, stating that "freedom of expression is a luxury in India especially if you are not part of the English-language media".
Dalvi who hasn't seen her children in weeks complained that she is being single out. “It was a clear news story. If you write about the terror attack on Charlie Hebdo, you also need to publish a relevant picture with it. That image has been printed in the Indian media in several places, but I am being singled out,” Dalvi told The Indian Express.
Hounded out of her home and forced to stay with friends, Dalvi told the Express she hasn’t even been able to speak to her children on the eve of their exams.
The website of her paper seems to have been hacked.
Tweets poured in in support of Dalvi with #IStandWithShirinDalvi trending.
Only in India can an editor like Shirin Dalvi be hounded by radicals & "liberals" alike #IstandwithShirinDalvi, anybody?— RightSaidFred (@SAdhuSThAna) January 31, 2015
Sad case of Shirin Dalvi shows that on the question of "blasphemy" India is essentially a Middle Eastern country. http://t.co/E7ZpE6Eir9— Sadanand Dhume (@dhume) February 4, 2015
There is something so sad about the way fanatics have hounded poor Shirin Dalvi. We must stand up for free speech http://t.co/9wTxNKvJJn— vir sanghvi (@virsanghvi) February 4, 2015