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Taslima Nasreen plans return to India

Exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen plans to return to India by August, just months after she was hounded out of the country by Islamic radical death threats.

world Updated: May 20, 2008 16:35 IST

Exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen said on Tuesday thatshe plans to return to her adoptive home India by August, just months after she was hounded out of the country by Islamic radical death threats.

"I hope that the Indian government will allow me to stay so that I can live there peacefully," said the 45-year-old.

Nasreen fled to Sweden in March after five months in an Indian government safe house, where she said that the stress from her isolated, prison-like conditions sent her blood pressure soaring and affected her heart and eyesight.

In Paris for three days for the release of a book on her time in hiding, she told AFP she had recovered her health, and planned to fly back to India before August 17, when her current six-month resident permit expires.

"Whether I would be allowed to live a normal life or whether I would be forced to live under house arrest I don't know. So I have to go there and see."

Nasreen was first forced to flee Bangladesh in 1994 after radical Muslims accused her of blasphemy over her novel "Lajja" -- or "Shame" -- which depicts the life of a Hindu family persecuted by Muslims in the country.

Then in November she was forced to leave Kolkata after receiving death threats from radical Indian Muslims, and hounded into hiding in New Delhi where she says that the government repeatedly urged her to leave the country.

Nasreen said that she was "devastated" to have been forced into a second exile, and lashed out at Indian politicians for failing to stand up for her in face of extremist threats.

"When the so-called secular people, only because of votes, bow their head in front of fundamentalists and appease them, then they destroy the country," she said.

"By throwing me out, the government of Bangladesh gave victory to the fundamentalists.