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Taslima moves from Kolkata to Jaipur

The controversial Bangladeshi author flies to Jaipur wearing a burqa as CPM leaders in Bengal say she’s a threat to peace.

kolkata Updated: Nov 23, 2007 09:18 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents

Just one day after a firestorm of fury swept through the streets of Kolkata and the air was rent with cries of “go back Taslima Nasreen”, the controversial Bangladeshi author was packed off to Jaipur on Thursday afternoon. Kolkata, which she often called her “second home”, could not, after all, dare to continue giving her shelter.

The pressure came not only from the protesters who created mayhem on Wednesday but also from top CPM leaders like Biman Bose who said the city would be a better place if she left. Assembly Speaker Hasim Abdul Halim echoed on Thursday: “Her presence has definitely created a problem.”

Taslima seemed rattled and perplexed when she spoke to HT on the phone just before she left. “I am shocked. And I do not want anything about me to be written at this stage,” she said.

The author boarded an Indian Airlines flight and landed at Sanganer airport in Jaipur around 6.30 pm. She wore a burqa through the journey. From the airport she went straight to a private hotel in a taxi, escorted by security personnel. Rajasthan DGP A.S.Gill told HT that Taslima made her own boarding arrangements.

Apparently, Taslima was shocked by Biman Bose’s comment on Wednesday. On Thursday, however, Bose changed tack saying that the Centre should decide what to do with the author.

Sources in the CPM said the party will put pressure on the Centre to either revoke Taslima’s visa or at least keep her away from West Bengal.

HT learnt that in Kolkata, Taslima had been warned that a Muslim hardline group was planning to target her. Why wasn’t this nipped in the bud then, the author had asked her confidants. She received no answer.

First Published: Nov 22, 2007 23:03 IST