Candlelight protest in support of Taslima

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New Delhi, Nov 27 (UNI) Assailing the Centre for meting out what they described shabby and unjust treatment to controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, civil society groups staged a silent candlelight protest here this evening and demanded a permanent visa or citizenship for the author-in-hiding.

Talking to UNI, noted journalist Kuldeep Nayyar said,'' We are appalled at the treatment being meted out to Ms Nasreen by the Centre. She is being shifted from one location to another for reasons we fail to understand. We want to know what crime she has committed.'' '' Just because of violence by 200-odd fanatics, she was hounded out of Kolkata and then taken to Jaipur from where she was again shifted to New Delhi. And after New Delhi nobody knows where,'' he regretted.

He demanded that Ms Nasreen be granted a permanent visa or citizenship and assured full protection by the Indian government.

He said several Tibetans had been granted asylum in the country.

Then why distinction was being made in the case of the 46-year-old doctor-turned-writer.

Muslim fundamentalists in Bangladesh have issued death threats to Ms Nasreen for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through her writings after which she left the country and went into a self-imposed exile abroad.

Meanwhile, religious leader Swami Agnivesh attacked the BJP for its stand on the Nasreen issue and said the saffron party was just playing ''double game'', and endorsed Mr Nayyar's demand of a permanent visa for the author.

He said the Indian government should come forward and assure and grant political asylum to Ms Nasreen, who had raised her voice against the attacks on HinduS in Bangladesh.

''It is now our turn to protect the author as she is in trouble.

Fundamentalism should not be allowed in the country in any form and only a handful of people cannot hold the entire country to ransom.

Freedom of expression should be everybody's right as enshrined in the constitution of the country,'' he demanded.

He said Ms Nasreen should be brought back to Kolkata and allowed full freedom there. But if the West Bengal government expresses its inability to protect her, then the Centre should take action against it.

'' What the Centre is doing is nothing but votebank politics keeping in mind all political considerations and all that is being done in the name of providing security to the author,'' he fumed.

Gauhar Raza, Tripurari Sharma, Javed Naqvi, Amarjeet Kaur, Kamla Bhasin and various NGOs, among others, also participated in the protest.


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