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Taslima shifted to safe house
November 27, 2007 19:04 IST
Mystery surrounded the whereabouts of controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen [Images], who was shifted out of the Rajasthan government's guest house in New Delhi on Monday night, in the continuing drama ever since she was hounded out of Kolkata last Thursday.
Personnel of the central security agencies woke her up from her sleep well past midnight at her room in the Rajasthan guest house, her temporary abode for the last four days, and asked her to accompany them to a "safe house" in an undisclosed location.
The central government's action came as political parties indulged in a blame game and Nasreen became a hot potato against the backdrop of threats to her from Muslim outfits opposed to her writings.
It also came hours after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] chaired a meeting of the Union Cabinet. Though the issue of Nasreen was not on the agenda, sources in the government said it was discussed informally after which a decision in this regard is believed to have been taken.
The security personnel showed their identity to the Rajasthan police before whisking the 45-year-old author, choosing a time to keep the drama away from media glare.
Sources declined to disclose the location where she had been taken but it is believed to be somewhere in the periphery of the national capital.
Taslima's cousin, Faizal Kabir, was also accompanying her in the new abode. His visa, which had expired on November 24, has since been extended, the sources said.
Nasreen, who has a resident visa valid till February 17, 2008, has sought a permanent resident's status in India. The Union home ministry has stated that as long as the writer holds a valid Indian visa, she should be given appropriate security wherever she is. If necessary, the home ministry will speak to the concerned state governments to ensure this.
After violent protests marred parts of Kolkata last Wednesday seeking her expulsion, Nasreen was packed off from her residence in the metropolis and shifted to Jaipur. The government there decided to shift her to Delhi after some Muslim organisations threatened protests against her stay in Rajasthan.
Despite the writer's wish to return to Kolkata, the Left government in West Bengal has been cold to the idea. The Bangladeshi author had said she was forced to depart from Kolkata at such a short notice, that she did not have time to change her clothes.
"I was forced to leave Kolkata and had to leave in the clothes I was wearing. You can well understand from this how quickly I was made to shift," said Taslima.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist came under increasing attack on the Nasreen issue, with major national parties demanding protection and extending the visa of the Bangladeshi writer. The Bharatiya Janata Party has raised objections over the silence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi [Images] over the issue.