• Friday, November 28, 2014

Taslima prefers India over Bangladesh

The Times of India

Controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen, hopeful of getting a resident permit in India, has said even if Bangladesh allowed her to enter the country, she wanted to spend the rest of her life in her second home -- India.

"I want to live in India....where else can I go? I am a citizen of Europe and a permanent resident of USA, but I chose India to live in because of cultural connection. Even if Bangladesh allows me to enter now, I will still choose to live in India for the rest of my life," Taslima said in an interview.

"In the last 20 years, I have made more friends here in India than in Bangladesh. If you live with this kind of ideology, relatives are not important. Important is how many people have belief in what you say, they become family.

"Bangladeshi publishers and intelligentsia also didn't try to keep contact with me so the relationship between my country and me was broken," she said.

The 51-year-old writer said, "I am not sure but the home minister has promised that he will make my resident permit long-term. If he doesn't change his mind, I am hopeful that I will get a long-term visa."

She said she might get the long-term permit sometime in September or October, but at present she has a two-month visa.

She added that the ministry needed at least a month's time.

Living in exile for 20 years now, she also claimed that the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi supported her on a couple of occasions when she was forced to exit West Bengal in 2007.

Fed up with hostile attitudes of various governments, Taslima said although she wanted to live a peaceful life in India, she wanted to remain a European citizen.

"I was thrown out of Bangladesh 20 years back. The West Bengal government threw me out for nothing. Then I was under house arrest here because some goons, some religious fundamentalists attacked me in Hyderabad and in Kolkata. They committed the crime, but I got the punishment,” she said.

"After that I was thrown out of India and was not allowed to live here from 2008 to 2010. So much injustice has happened in my life in the last 25 years, but now I want to live peacefully in India," said the author.

"For Indian citizenship, I have to give up European citizenship. I don't want to live in Europe but if some problem occurs in India, then I can at least go to those countries," she said when asked if she wants to get Indian citizenship.

Some intellectuals had demanded political asylum for Taslima, but she said, "Political asylum is not possible now. It could have happened in 1994 when I was politically thrown out of Bangladesh. I came here from Sweden and a Swedish citizen doesn't need political asylum in India," she said.

Currently busy writing about human rights violations in Gaza, Taslima is also penning her new book. "I am writing a new book in Bangla on 'women in secularism' and it will come out in January. I want to thank all the people in India for their support and solidarity when the news of government curtailing my resident permit broke," she said.

Published: 12:00 am Thursday, August 07, 2014

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