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Taslima Nasreen wants Indian citizenship
September 11, 2006 10:58 IST
Expressing regret at her inability to visit her country due to threats from Bangladeshi fundamentalists, writer Taslima Nasreen has urged the Indian government to grant her citizenship or permanent resident status.
Taslima said India, and particularly West Bengal, was her current home. "I feel at home here and have recieved the love of the people," said the author, who fled Bangladesh in 1994 after receiving death threats from fundamentalists.
The writer, who was recently given a six-month residential permit valid till January 2007, urged the Central government to grant her citizenship or a permanent residential permit.
"I can then concentrate on my writing and set up my base here. Will it not be possible for the Indian government to grant my plea," Taslima asked in an interview with PTI.
Asked whether she wished to return to Bangladesh, which she left after Muslim clerics offered a reward for her head,Taslima regretted that her right to visit her motherland had been taken away.
"My parents have passed away. So the persons closest to me in Bangladesh are no more. It is more of having my rights to visit the country where I was born and grew up rather than purely emotional reasons," she said.
She regretted that none of the major political parties in Bangladesh had come out in her support.
"I am also loved by the people of Sweden, but Kolkata holds a special place for me," she said, thanking Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee for understanding her problems whenever she approached him.
To a question about why she invited controversies time and again, Taslima said, "Let me reiterate that male chauvinists and fundamentalists do not believe in equal rights. Whenever one tries to unshackle patriarchy, a religious controversy arises."
"Whenever someone wants to change a society which does not give equal rights to women and fails to consider them anything other than sexual objects, it evokes controversy," she said.
Taslima said she was now working on an autobiographical book - Ami bhalo nei, tumi bhalo theko priya desh (I am not well, but you, my motherland, remain well) - which will encapsulate her 'wishes, dreams and agony'.
The Bangladesh government had banned Taslima's Lajja (Shame), which was about the persecution of Hindu minorities and her autobiographical works Amar Meyebela (My Girlhood), Utal Hawa (Gusty Wind), Ka, and Sei Sab Andhakar (Those Dark Days).