Kolkata: Seeking long-term extension of her residence permit, controversial author Taslima Nasreen yesterday met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
Nasreen had expressed her anguish after the government on Wednesday refused her a one-year visa, instead granting her a temporary permission to stay in India for two months. “I met Singh today and he assured me that my stay in India will be extended. I gave him my book Wo Andhere Din (Those Dark Days), and in return he said my dark days were over,” Nasreen said.
Following her outburst on a social networking site, support for her has been pouring in from various quarters, with Press Council of India Chairperson and former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju demanding a permanent visa for the 52-year-old, who has been living in exile since 1994.
Nasreen, however, expressed her surprise over intellectuals from Kolkata — her “home” —remaining silent on the issue.
“I am surely surprised that people in Kolkata, known for their righteous stand, have chosen to remain silent. But at the same time I must admit I have gotten used to this. There were not many voices to come out when I was thrown out of my home — Kolkata,” she said.
Exiled from Bangladesh in 1994 for “hurting religious sentiments” with her novel Lajja, Nasreen took refuge in the city in 2004. But after violent protests in the city in November 2007, the erstwhile Left Front government whisked her away to New Delhi, where she has been living since.
Eager to return to Kolkata, Nasreen said so long as the Mamata Banerjee government in the state continued to bow to the whims of religious fanatics, her return to the city was not possible.
“By banning my tele-serial ‘Dusahobas’, this government denied me a slice of livelihood. I have been repeatedly writing to Mamata Banerjee expressing my wish to come back to Kolkata, but so long as she continues to listen to the fanatics my return will never be possible,” she added.
She said ‘Dusahobas’, a story of three sisters and their triumph over the injustices meted out by the patriarchal society, would have been a source of inspiration at a time when crime against women was on the rise in the state.
Following protests by minority religious groups, telecast of the TV serial was blocked.