New Delhi, Dec 27: Writers here have demanded that controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen should be granted freedom of speech and security.
"We, the writers' community, want to pressurise the government that Taslima should be provided with sufficient security. This is really shameful, if the State Government shows inability in doing so. If the State Government has been providing it (security) in other cases, then why not in this?" said Navivar Singh, a writer. Rajendra Yadav, another writer, added, “To avoid mental torture, primarily Taslima should be set free to meet everyone. The government, on one side, says that security has been provided to her, if house arrest is the name of security, and same house arrest in the form of security would be provided to her in Kolkata, then there is no point of such security."
Former West Bengal Chief Minister and veteran CPI (M) leader Jyoti Basu on Tuesday said that Taslima was 'welcome' to return back to Kolkata provided the Centre arranges her security in Kolkata.
Taslima is presently being kept at an undisclosed location in New Delhi, and was informed by officials that she would not be allowed to return to Kolkata for now.
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee later refuted this and denied reports that Taslima was kept under house arrest and was not being allowed to talk to media.
After a protest led by some radical Muslim groups, demanding her ouster from Kolkata turned violent in November this year, Taslima was moved from Kolkata to Jaipur, and then to Delhi.
She has equated her stay in the national capital to "solitary confinement."
The opposition BJP has accused the government of pandering to Muslim minorities by trying to get her out of the country.New Delhi has said it will continue to host and protect the writer, but indicated she would have to avoid political activities and actions that might hurt India's relations with its friendly neighbours. She has already made her wish to return to a "normal life" in Kolkata, but the Left Front government in the State is seen reluctant to it.
The author's visa is due to expire in February and New Delhi will have to decide on its extension.