‘Taslima is now India’s problem’
Controversial writer Taslima Nasreen is of no concern to Bangladesh anymore. Bangladesh foreign secretary Md Touhid Hossain said on Thursday she was no longer a citizen of his country and was, therefore, India’s problem.
Taslima, who was born in Mymensingh in Bangladesh, was forced to leave the country in 1994, after the Bangladesh government banned her novels for blasphemy.
In a conversation with the Hindustan Times at the Bangladesh foreign ministry office in Dhaka, Hossain conceded that Bangladesh was keeping itself posted on developments related to Taslima. He added, “Bangladesh has nothing to say about Taslima Nasreen’s present predicament. She is India’s problem and India is doing what it thinks is best. Beyond this I would not want to comment.”
He pointed out that Taslima holds a Swedish passport. “We have no agreement on dual citizenship with Sweden. The moment she became a Swedish national, her Bangladesh citizenship got automatically cancelled,” he said.
The present caretaker government considers Taslima to be like any other foreigner. If she wants to enter Bangladesh, she has to apply for a visa. And it is at the discretion of the government to decide whether to give her one or not. As for her properties here, people across the world own properties outside their countries, Hossain said.
Taslima is now in southern France. She told the Hindustan Times over the telephone that she longed to go back to her country and stay at her flat in Shantinagar. “I really miss my country. But the Bangladesh government is not allowing me to enter,” Taslima said.
The writer, who is under treatment, said she would return to India sometime in July, after the panchayat polls in West Bengal and before the expiry of a six-month residential permit granted by the Government of India.
“I hope to stay in my flat in Kolkata. If I am not allowed to do so, I will shift to Delhi. But if I am not allowed to stay in Delhi as a free person, I will settle abroad,” she said.