Kolkata, Jan 5: In a letter to her friends in Kolkata, Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen has described her stay in Delhi as being “virtually under house arrest."
The letter, which was distributed at a literary fair here, says: “This existence cannot be called living." She said that she was not aware of her present address and visitors to her had to be cleared by the Home Ministry. “I am virtually under house arrest," she said. “I long to be back in Kolkata," Taslima concluded in her letter. 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.
After a protest led by some radical Muslim groups, demanding her ouster from Kolkata turned violent in November last year, Taslima was moved from Kolkata to Jaipur, and then to Delhi.
Taslima"s statement in New Delhi that she was virtually under house arrest to a TV channel became a public controversy in mid-December last year. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had rejected Taslima"s statement.
He said the government's policy was to make all appropriate arrangements for the safe and secure stay of a guest, adding that “she (Taslima) can stay in the country as long as she wants.''
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.
The author's visa is due to expire in February.