Leader of the Opposition LK Advani has urged the government to allow Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen to lead a normal life in West Bengal.
In another development, a group of intellectuals, including former prime minister I.K. Gujral, said in a letter to Home Minister Shivraj Patil that Taslima has been banished from Kolkata and is being kept under house arrest in the Capital for unjustified and invalid reasons.
Speaking at a function, Advani said he had heard from “reliable sources” that the government has been putting pressure on Taslima to leave India.
“It is ironic that the Congress-Left combine, which has actively colluded in the influx of 1.20 crore illegal Bangladeshi immigrants cannot protect a single, hapless woman who is a victim of religious persecution in her own country,” Advani said.
He also asked for her visa to be extended without delay.
Gujral and others said Taslima had led a normal life in Kolkata for over three years. “There was not a single instance of disturbance of public order because of anything she said, did or wrote. Disturbances of public order in Hyderabad and Kolkata were engineered... by politically motivated... groups, who must be dealt with according to the law,’’ the letter said.
Taslima’s detention at an undisclosed location here and her not being allowed to meet anyone have stifled her creativity and affected her health, the letter said.
Kuldip Nayar, Ashish Nandi, Muchkund Dubey and Sumit Chakraborty were among the others who signed the letter.