Having been forced to live in Europe for more than two months by the Indian Government, exiled Bangladeshi littérateur Taslima Nasrin complained that she was not getting permission from the Indian Government to enter her adopted country now that she wants to return.
Meanwhile, Swedish PEN Club spokeswoman Maria Modig informed on Tuesday that Taslima has been granted safe haven at Uppsala for two years by the Swedish Government. And that Taslima would get an allowance, an apartment and security during her stay in this Swedish town 70 km from Stockholm.
Taslima was forced to leave India by the Union Government on March 19. But now that her Residential Permit in this country is expiring on August 17, Taslima needs to reach here and apply for its extension at least a month before its expiry.
“I don’t know what is happening. I want to return to Kolkata. I moved out of India, as the authorities thought the controversies surrounding me would die down if I stayed outside India for sometime. But now that the panchayat polls in Bengal is over, why cannot they allow me to enter India,” Taslima Nasrin told Hindustan Times.
Taslima said that she has already got in touch with the Indian Government and has sought formal permission to enter India. But so far there has been no communication from the Indian Government.
“I have informed about my intention to the external affairs ministry. I have to return to India as my six-month Residential Permit is expiring on August 17. I need to submit application to the Union Home and External Affairs Ministry for its extension,” said Taslima.
Taslima, who initially took refuge with UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Madanjeet Singh in France after reaching Europe, is now residing in Sweden. She lamented that Indian Government had promised to provide accommodation facilities to her during her sojourn in Europe.
But nothing of that sort has happened. A Swedish citizen, Taslima claimed she had been paying from her own pocket to sustain herself.
“I am incurring huge expenses. I am paying through my nose here and I am also bearing the expenses of my residence in Kolkata. Do not forget I am a refugee,” lamented Taslima.
Taslima, who hopes to return to her Rawdon Street flat in Kolkata for which she is paying rent every month, pointed out that she is spending Rs 22,500 every month to keep the flat in city. She also said that before being driven out of the city, she had bought a new Maruti Esteem for Rs 6 lakh, which is now lying idle in the garage of her flat.
“ I was driven out of Kolkata in November end and since then I am paying the flat rent. My car, all my clothes and books are there. I am here only with my laptop,” said Taslima who left India in March after spending four months in a hideout in Delhi Cantonment.
What’s worse, Taslima said that she was in such a bad state of mind that in the last six months she has not been able to put pen to paper. She has told her publisher that she is unable to complete the sixth part of her autobiography Nei Kichu Nei (There is Nothing).
“Taslima is in such a mental condition that she is unable to write. We have told her to relax and resume writing only after she gets well,” said her city-based publisher Prasanta Roy.
Taslima has been on the run since 1994, when she left Bangladesh. After spending years in Europe and the USA, she came to India in 2003 and settled in Kolkata. She was forced out of Kolkata in November 2007. And left India to take a vacation in Europe in March 2008.