Taslima Nasreen was ready to return to India anytime for renewing her residence permit, valid till February 17, 2010. The exiled author, however, was worried with chances of the Union Home ministry asking her for a “pre-conditional undertaking”.
This would extend her residence permit, provided she left India once she received it.
In its last term, the UPA government had emphasised that it would not drive out an exiled author like Taslima, despite demands by a section of minority population.
Taslima was thrice unlucky and became a victim of “undertakings”. This would be the fourth time in two years, since Taslima was forced to leave India following agitations against her in Kolkata.
Nasreen was apprehensive that she would be forced to sign an “undertaking” to renew her residence permit or be allowed to stay in New Delhi, with Kolkata still out of bounds for her.
Her uncertainty was increasing with her fellowship at New York University coming to an end this December.
With all her belongings in Kolkata and Delhi, Taslima was hoping this time the government would allow her to stay in Delhi. Otherwise, from December, she would be homeless, with her depleting savings not allowing her to maintain a rented place abroad.
Although she had a new book lined up for the 2010 Kolkata Book Fair, besides a book in French and documentaries on her in the West, Taslima pined for an Indian home.
She, however, sought solace that the Congress-led Union Government extended support to the return of controversial artist MF Hussain in October.
Taslima’s supporters demanded similar treatment for her. A section within the state Congress, however, was fearful of losing the Muslim vote-bank during the Assembly polls, at Bengal in 2011 and Uttar Pradesh in 2012.