NationStates Jolt Archive

Taslima Nasreen hounded out of Kolkota (Calcutta)...

27-11-2007, 14:10
Very very shameful. Some muslims in West Bengal engaged in violence and the communist govt there pressurized the refugee writer from Bangladesh to go to Jaipur in Rajasthan (pl see a political map...too many places to describe where they are). Now she is allegedly being shifted from Rajasthan.

Muslims in West Bengal are calling for her to be ousted from India. Now the hindu groups are pitching in for Taslima, seeing an opportunity for a showdown.

Author Taslima Nasreen is on the run

NEW DELHI: Bangladeshi author TASLIMA NASREEN has been on the run from extremist Muslims threatening to kill her ever since she started writing books that incensed religious hardliners.

Yesterday, Nasreen was being bundled from place to place in an all-enveloping black burqa as Indian authorities sought her a safe haven following violent Islamist protests calling for her expulsion.

Police in the West Bengal capital put her on a flight to Jaipur, but the local Rajasthan government there also told her to leave at dawn yesterday.

"She arrived here without informing us. Because of security reasons, the government has asked her to leave," Rajasthan's home minister Gulab Chand Kataria said.

The 45-year-old author declined to say where she was after leaving Rajasthan.

"I am mentally distressed. I am not well at all," Nasreen said.

Nasreen, who lives in self-imposed exile in India, was escorted by Rajasthan police to the state border, where police from neighbouring Haryana were to take over security arrangements, officials said.

Now the 45-year-old gynaecologist-turned author who describes herself as a humanist says all she wants to do is stay in India but has "no place to go."

"I have no place to go. India is my home, and I would like to keep living in this country till I die," she said. Media reports said New Delhi has extended her Indian visa, which was due to expire in February 2008.

The Hindu nationalist BJP has demanded a permanent visa for Nasreen, saying she should be allowed the freedom of speech enjoyed by those who make anti-Hindu remarks. Nasreen was being "treated like a football", senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said.

In New Delhi, Muslim group, All India Milli Council, said all Muslim organisations would "vehemently protest" her stay as she has "hurt the sentiments of millions of Muslims in the country."

"She is a citizen of this country. There is no problem from Bangladesh if she wants to come here," Dhaka foreign ministry official Nazmul Quaunine said.
New Delhi, Nov 27 (IANS) In a stealthy post-midnight operation, away from the media glare, Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen was shifted from Rajasthan House in New Delhi and taken to an undisclosed safe house.

Escorted by Intelligence Bureau officials with a decoy car in tow, Nasreen and her brother Faizal were quickly transported out of Rajasthan House where she has been camping for the last three days.

"We cannot tell you where she has been shifted. It defeats the entire purpose of our operation. Everything will be clear soon," an intelligence official said.

According to the officials, a team landed at the Rajasthan House around 12.45 a.m. and within minutes moved the controversial author, who was aware of the plans and had already packed her bags.

Nasreen has been on the run since Thursday last week after she was virtually hounded out of Kolkata following a violent agitation against her in that city last Wednesday.

She was forced to initially shift to Jaipur. Then she was hurriedly shifted from Jaipur to New Delhi after the All India Milli Council threatened to hold protests if the writer was kept in Rajasthan for long.

West Bengal's ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has washed its hands off the matter saying the Bangladeshi writer moved to Jaipur on her own and the centre should decide where she would stay.

In interviews to several television channels, Nasreen has expressed her eagerness to return to Kolkata though the Indian government is yet to give her security clearance to go back to the city she calls her home.

Indirectly, Taslima has tried telling both the central and West Bengal governments that appeasing the fundamentalists would serve no purpose.

"If we allow fundamentalists to go unopposed, no society will be safe," she told news channel CNN-IBN.

Nasreen has been facing death threats from Islamic radical groups in Bangladesh, which forced her to shift to Kolkata some years back.

BJP and RSS (hindu nationalist parties) pitching in
Saffron forces on Tuesday jumped into the raging controversy over Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen with Chief Minister Narendra Modi inviting her to Gujarat and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh demanding political asylum for her.
Joining the raging controversy over Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, the RSS on Tuesday demanded political asylum for her.

At least one muslim group has extended support to her
Allow Taslima to stay in India peacefully: Muslim Forum

Kozhikode (PTI): Hounded Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen won support from an unexpected quarter on Tuesday as a prominent Muslim women's group in Kerala demanded steps by the Centre to ensure her stay in India, respecting her wishes.

As the union government rushed her to an unknown destination to protect her from threats by some Muslim organisations, the Progressive Muslim Women's Forum said it was wrong on the part of fundamentalist groups to brand her anti-Islam.

"Having granted her a visa till February 2008, the Centre has a moral responsibility to provide security to her rather than allowing some state governments to politicise her stay', Forum President V P Suhara told reporters here.

She said Taslima Nasreen was not carrying out a campaign against Islam as alleged by some outfits. "If Nasreen had come to India in self-exile, we have a duty to protect her rather than humiliate her in the name of religion", she said.

She flayed the Left Front Government in West Bengal for 'not handling the situation effectively.' "If the government cannot ensure the security of a Muslim woman, how do you expect minorities to live in peace there?' she said.
27-11-2007, 14:13
her latest interview

Writer Taslima Nasreen is once again in the eye of a storm. She has spoken extensively to this journalist when she was in Delhi earlier this year to attend a workshop. She does not hesitate to speak her mind. Even when she was back at Delhi from Jaipur, she queried as to why only she was being attacked whereas "nothing happened to M F Hussain who had done so many things".

What are the subjects that you choose to write about?

I write on a variety of subjects and especially on human rights, women's rights and secular humanism. It is for this reason that I have been targeted. These are subjects close to the heart of both men and women. This is the main reason why I continue to be read extensively. Editors keep approaching me for articles and short stories because the circulation of their magazines goes up when they use my pieces.

If you remember, I met you at a conference held against censorship in Copenhagen in March 1995?

Yes, indeed I do. That was a difficult period for me.

What has being in exile meant for you?

In 1990, I was physically confined to my house. Fortunately for me, I kept on writing. The people in Bangladesh had openly demanded my death. The whole nation shut down as this demand intensified. The European Union governments gave me shelter and the human rights people spoke out against these fundamentalists. It was not an easy time (being in exile) because my cultural roots were not there.

But even in Copenhagen you had highlighted that the real fight was between fundamentalism and humanism. It was not a religious battle at all?

I have always maintained that the real fight is not between the West and Islam or even between Christianity and Islam but between secularism and fundamentalism and between a rational worldview and blind faith. I have always valued freedom but that is not the case with those who are strapped to blind belief.

You see the veil as being oppressive?

Of course. Let us not forget that there is a vibrant secular movement in most Muslim countries but it not these voices which are heard. The voices of fundamentalists are heard because it is they who receive financial help from countries such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. We should make no mistake about that.

How have you settled down in Kolkata?

Its my home. I love the culture, the music, the food, the people, everything about it. I am a Bengali writer and I like to live in surroundings imbued with my Bengali culture.

Do you think your writing has helped change the situation for women?

I think women, especially those in South Asia, need to become conscious of their own rights. The situation has changed a great deal and over the years, they are going in for higher studies and striving to become economically independent.

Why are you so anti-religion?

I am not a believer in God. I'm an atheist. I have always maintained that religion is against human rights and women's rights. That does not make me an intolerant person. I want to express myself and I believe I have a right to express myself according to my belief.

How do you respond to the growing rise of fundamentalism in the sub-continent?

I have got used to having fatwas issued against me - they were issued way back in 1993. The west Bengal government should not proscribed my book. Their ban only served to encouraged the mullahs and that should be stopped.