Sikhs May Call for Ban on Rowling's New Book

'The Casual Vacancy' upsets faithful in India

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 2, 2012 10:13 AM CDT

(Newser) – JK Rowling's new book is not going over well in India, where Sikhs are angry over the depiction of a Sikh character in The Casual Vacancy. Sukhvinder, a female, is teased and called a "hairy man-woman" (Sikhs are prohibited from shaving or trimming their hair) and "the Great Hermaphrodite," and is once described as "mustachioed yet large-mammaried." Sikh leaders say they may call for a ban on the book, but a rep for Rowling's publisher says it's quite clear in the novel that Sukhvinder is being bullied and that any negative description of her is made by the bully alone.

But Sikh leaders say they will read the book carefully, and if they determine Rowling has insulted their faith, they will demand it not be sold in India. A spokesperson for one Sikh group says "media bias" against the religion has led to incidents such as the August shooting in which six Sikhs were killed. But Rowling has praised the Sikh faith in the past, and called Sukhvinder's treatment in the book an example of "corrosive racism," the Telegraph reports. The Casual Vacancy has also made waves due to some of its decidedly adult passages.

JK Rowling poses for the photographers with her new book, 'The Casual Vacancy,' at the Southbank Centre in London, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012.
JK Rowling poses for the photographers with her new book, 'The Casual Vacancy,' at the Southbank Centre in London, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
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