Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bangladeshi Writer Seeks Free Movement

December 20, 2007

NEW DELHI (AP) — Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasrin, who fled death threats in her home country, complained Friday that the Indian government was not allowing her to meet friends or travel outside the Indian capital.

"I want to live a normal life here. I've everything except freedom of movement," Nasrin told The Associated Press.

Nasrin has been hiding in New Delhi since last month after a violent protest by a Muslim group forced her to flee her home in Calcutta. The group, All India Minorities Forum, accused her of insulting Islam in her writings.

"They want to protect me. But they can always provide me with security when I go out," she said.

"I've a cell phone, Internet, but not freedom of movement. That's not helping me at all. I can't concentrate on my work," she said.

Nasrin said she wants to continue living in India.

"I love India and I know that people of India want me to live here," she said.

Last month, Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said India would provide shelter to Nasrin, adding that the country expected guests to refrain from activities and expressions that may hurt the sentiments of the people.

In August, angry Muslim protesters attacked Nasrin in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad while she was attending the release of her book "Shodh" (Getting Even) in the local Teulgu language. She escaped unhurt.

She left Bangladesh in 1994 after Islamic extremists threatened to kill her. The death threats came after an Indian newspaper quoted her as saying changes must be made to the Islamic holy book, the Quran, to give women more rights.

She has vehemently denied making the comments but still faces threats against her life from Islamic hard-liners in Bangladesh, where one of her books is banned.

In 2004, the Bangladeshi government banned her Bengali-language book "Shei Shab Andhakar" ("Those Dark Days") for what it said were objectionable comments about Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.

Nasrin lived in Sweden for several years but eventually moved to India. She has applied for Indian citizenship or permanent residency.

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