New Delhi, Dec 22: External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that India's policies on foreign nationals seeking shelter were applicable to Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen as well.
Mukherjee told reporters that Nasreen should contact the officials concerned if she faced any problems regarding her stay. "I have clearly spelt out the policy of Government of India in respect of those who come for taking shelter in India. If she has any difficulties, she should contact persons looking into her matter. They will remove those problems," Mukherjee said. Nasreen on Thursday said that New Delhi was forcing her to live under virtual house arrest, and had appealed for more freedom.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has described the alleged house arrest as "shocking news", and urged the UPA Government not to forget the time tested philosophy of "Athithi Devo Bhawa".
"Taslima is a victim of religious persecution in Bangladesh. She is now a refugee in India. The BJP would like to remind the UPA Central Government and the CPM State Government that we are no longer living under the emergency rule of 1975 in which the then attorney general had infamously had the audacity to state that nobody has right to life if the government wishes so," said BJP spokesman Prakash Javadkar.
Taslima's visa to stay in India is valid till February 17, 2008, and she has been living in exile for over ten years.
Since the 1990s, she has faced numerous threats from Islamic groups for her writings. Recently, activists of the Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) attacked her at a book release function in Hyderabad.
The European Parliament awarded her the Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought in 1994.