J.K. Rowling's latest novel could be banned in India over its description of a Sikh character.
The Casual Vacancy, released last week, has sparked criticism from readers taking exception to passages about a character named Sukhvinder, a surgeon's daughter who is teased about her looks and is described as a "hairy man-woman" and "mustachioed yet large-mammaried".
Sikh leaders are investigating complaints about Rowling's "provocative language" and plan to call for a ban if it is decided the author has insulted their faith.
Avtar Singh Makkar, head of India's Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, tells Britain's Daily Telegraph Rowling's negative descriptions are "a slur on the Sikh community".
"Even if the author had chosen to describe the female Sikh character's physical traits, there was no need for her to use provocative language, questioning her gender. This is condemnable," he said.
A spokesperson for the group adds, "If deemed derogatory to the Sikh faith, we will demand a ban on it. We will make sure it doesn't sell in India. Reputed authors like J.K. Rowling need to show respect to all faiths and communities as they are read by millions of people. Sikh believers, including women, are refrained from shaving and trimming their hair. This is a part of our faith and anyone making offensive remarks about it is directly hurting the sentiments of Sikh community."
A representative for Rowling's publisher Hachette was quick to point out that the remarks are made by Sukhvinder's bully.