In the wee hours of Wednesday, exiled Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen slipped out of her "safe house" in New Delhi and boarded the flight to London.
Home Ministry officials accompanied Taslima and put her up in the business class of the British Airways that left Delhi at 3:30 am on Wednesday.
<b1>The Bangladeshi author said that the government had paid for her airfare up to her European destination. After spending few hours in Heathrow, Taslima took the connecting flight to Paris where she plans to spend few months.
On reaching Heathrow Airport on Wednesday afternoon, she said she was relieved to be out of the "prison" where she lived under strict vigilance for the last four months.
On Sunday, the government informed Taslima that she could leave the country. She was also told for the first time that she could meet her friends before taking her flight. On Tuesday afternoon, Taslima’s friends from Kolkata landed in Delhi with her belongings and spent more than eight hours with her at Taj Palace.
“It was a torture. After four months, I was allowed to meet my friends. I left at midnight, they left. After that, the officials took me to Palam Airport,” Taslima told the Hindustan Times from the Heathrow Airport.
“The sixth part of my autobiography Nei Kichu Nei (There is Nothing) can wait. After I get well, I would first write a book to narrate the story of my dark days inside the Delhi cantonment hole and how India treated me,” she said. Taslima disclosed that she was kept in an officer’s mess in the Delhi cantonment area for four months. Though, there was no police security, officials of home and external affairs ministry were constantly in touch with her.
“Nobody was allowed to meet me. I had given a list of 25 persons I wanted to meet, but it was rejected. Only Centre’s emissaries pressing me to leave India came when they liked,” she said.
Taslima added that when it came to meeting outsiders occasionally, she was taken to an empty house. And after the meeting, she was brought back to her hideout. "I have left everything behind in Kolkata. My soul cries to go back to my city,” said Taslima.