I am being forced to leave India: Taslima

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New Delhi, Mar 18 (UNI) Controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen has claimed that she was forced to leave India after being repeatedly denied meeting anyone or stepping out, but said she still loves this country and her heart is in Kolkata.

''I am being forced to leave India. I have been living under house arrest for seven-and-a-half months - four months in Kolkata and three-and-a-half months in Delhi. I was not allowed to step out or meet anyone. I was constantly under pressure to leave the country,'' Ms Nasreen told a news channel in an interview.

''I refused to leave India because I love it and settled in this country a few years ago. My home is in Kolkata. But because of stress-related hypertension and not being allowed to see doctors for months, I have developed some difficult diseases from which it is difficult to recover.

''This confinement has left a very bad impact on my mental and physical health. I am forced to leave India to get necessary treatment and save at least the rest of my body, which has not yet been damaged from this extreme stress I went through over the past several months.'' Ms Nasreen also claimed she was being kept out of Kolkata primarily because of political reasons as the Left Front government in West Bengal did not want to antagonise the Muslim voters ahead of the forthcoming panchayat elections in the state.

''I definitely want to come back after the panchayat elections. I have been told that after the panchayat elections, when the political parties would have got their Muslim votes and won their elections, I would be allowed to go back to Kolkata.'' Asked if she was hoping to come back to Kolkata, she said: ''Yes, I am not giving up my connections with Kolkata. I am keeping everything there. I was not allowed to go to my home in Kolkata to pick up some necessary things, which I needed before leaving the country. Anyway, I sincerely hope I will be allowed to live in Kolkata after two or three months.'' About the status of her health, Ms Nasreen said the doctors have told her that she has hypertension and some problems which were cardiac in nature besides an eye problem.

In her message to those who forced her to leave India, she said: ''I hope their good sense will prevail. I hope they will try to uphold the ideas of Indian democracy and secularism. Hope they will value human rights and freedom of expression.'' Ms Nasreen also expressed gratitude to all those who showed their support and solidarity towards her. ''I consider them my home, my country,'' she said in the interview to CNN-IBN.

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