'Taslima can seek asylum in France'

Updated on Feb 16, 2008 10:52 PM IST
French Ambassador to India Jerome Bonnafont says the Bangladeshi writer can seek asylum in France and visit Paris whenever she likes.
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PTI | By, Puducherry

Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen could seek asylum in France and visit Paris whenever she likes to receive Simone de Beauvoir literary award, French Ambassador to India Jerome Bonnafont has said.

He said the French government's offer to give asylum to her was in tune with their traditions of offering it to those facing threat to their lives for expressing their opinions.

"We want to give shelter and express solidarity with individuals facing threat to life and this is in agreement with the French tradition of giving asylum", he told reporters in Puducherry on Friday.

Nasreen is staying at an undisclosed place in the national capital since being bundled out of Kolkata in November last following largescale violent protests in that city by a radical Islamic outfit protesting her allegedly blasphemous writings. They also demanded she be thrown out of India.

Freedom of religion and expression are very fundamental to India and France, the Ambassador told a questioner.

He also recalled how Sri Aurobindo had sought asylum in Puducherry when it was under French rule.

He said President of France Nicolas Sarkozy had extended an invitation to her to visit France to receive the the 'Simone de Beauvoir' award.

The French Ambassador said, however, that he understood that the writer did not feel like leaving India for the time being. But she has an "open invitation to visit whenever she wants," he added.

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