Taslima in a "safe house"

Updated on Nov 27, 2007 07:58 PM IST

Mystery surrounds the whereabouts of controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen in the continuing drama ever since she is hounded out of Kolkata.

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PTI | By, New Delhi

Mystery surrounds the whereabouts of controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen, who was shifted out of Rajasthan government's guest house in Delhi past midnight, in the continuing drama ever since she was hounded out of Kolkata on last Thursday.

Personnel of the central security agencies woke her up from her sleep well past midnight at her room in the Rajasthan guest house, her temporary abode for the last four days, and asked her to accompany them to a "safe house" in an undisclosed location.

The Central government's action came as political parties indulged in a blame game and Nasreen became a hot potato against the backdrop of threats to her from Muslim outfits opposed to her writings.

It also came hours after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chaired a meeting of the Union Cabinet. Though the issue of Nasreen was not in the agenda, sources in the Government said it was discussed informally after which a decision in this regard is believed to have been taken.

The security personnel showed their identity to the Rajasthan police before whisking the 45-year-old author choosing a time to keep the drama away from media glare.

Sources declined to disclose the location where she had been taken but it is believed to be somewhere in the periphery of the national capital.

Her cousin, Faizal Kabir, was also accompanying her in the new abode. His visa, which had expired on November 24, has since been extended, the sources said.

Nasreen, who has a resident visa valid till February 17, 2008, has sought a permanent resident's status in India.
The Union Home Ministry has stated that as long as the writer holds a valid Indian visa "she should be given appropriate security wherever she is. If necessary, the Home Ministry will speak to the concerned state governments to ensure this."

After violent protests marred parts of Kolkata on last Wednesday seeking her expulsion, Nasreen was packed off from her residence in the metropolis and shifted to Jaipur. The government there decided to shift her to Delhi after some Muslim organisations threatened protest against her stay in Rajasthan.

Despite the writer's wish return to Kolkata, the Left Front government in West Bengal has been cold to the idea.
The Bangladeshi author had said that she was "forced" to depart from Kolkata at such a short notice that she did not have time to change her clothes. "I was forced to leave Kolkata and had to leave in the clothes I was wearing. You can well understand from this how quickly I was made to shift".

The CPI(M) came under increasing attack on the Nasreen issue, with major national parties demanding protection and extending the visa of the Bangladeshi writer.

The BJP has raised objections over the silence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi over the issue.

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