Exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen has decided to leave India for good unless she is allowed to settle in Kolkata. She will leave on Tuesday night for Canada or Germany — she refused to disclose her destination — and will not return unless the Indian government accepts her request.
Taslima, still living in a ‘safe house’ in or around Delhi, said she has been compelled to take this decision because of her deteriorating health.
Talking to Hindustan Times over the phone on Monday afternoon, she said she needs urgent medical treatment after which she would settle down in a Western country.
“I cannot go on like this. I will die. I have developed serious heart and eye diseases. To arrest my deteriorating condition, I am leaving India. I will not come back unless the Government of India allows me to lead a free life in Kolkata,” the author said.
Taslima said that even before being admitted to AIIMS, she had complained of acute hypertension. But even after repeated requests to the home and external affairs ministries, she was not provided doctors for consultation.
“I finally succumbed and had to be taken to the hospital. My untreated hypertension has damaged my heart and eyes. I have developed an eye disease that will lead to blindness unless treated immediately,” said Taslima, who was a doctor at the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital.
She said the harrowing conditions in which she has been living for the past seven months (three months in Kolkata and four in Delhi) had taken a toll on her health. “I need to lead a stress-free life to avoid dying. So far it has been like living in a jail,” said a weeping Taslima.
The Bangladeshi author hit the headlines when some Muslim organisations engineered riots in Kokata in November, protesting against her blasphemous writings and demanding her ouster from the city.
On November 22, Taslima left Kolkata for Jaipur and was transferred to a high-security shelter near the Capital the next day.
Thereafter, despite her repeated pleas, the Left Front government in Bengal refused to let her return and the Centre restricted her movements.
“I just cannot take it psychologically and physically. I am dying. I am running away to survive,” said Taslima.
She said that she had not informed the central government about her decision to leave. “Does anybody care? They have been telling me to leave the country for the past seven months. I stuck on, but not any more,” the exiled author added.