Monday, 30th October 2017

E- paper

Stressed Taslima to leave

Read more below

  • Published 18.03.08

New Delhi, March 17: Taslima Nasreen has decided to leave India, at least temporarily, to the relief of the home ministry and security agencies.

The Bangladeshi author has told the government she wants to go away for a few months because she is under too much stress and needs a break. It’s not clear when she will leave, but sources said it might not be easy for her to return soon.

“I have to leave this impossible situation. I cannot interact with people. I cannot any more take this stress which has led to hypertension. I want to lead a de-stressed life and I want to live life to the full,” PTI quoted Taslima as telling the agency from an undisclosed location in Delhi.

She did not say which country she would go to, but officials told The Telegraph she might travel to Sweden or London.

Taslima told the agency the prolonged stress had affected her health and she was suffering from heart disease and retinopathy, an eye ailment.

Officials looking for a face-saver have grabbed at the talk of treatment abroad although the author clearly suggested she mainly wanted to escape the stress.

“Her ailments can easily be treated here. Patients now come to India from Europe since treatment is much cheaper here,” a source said.

Taslima’s bigger complaint has been about the loneliness of virtual house arrest. She has been in a Delhi safe house since November, living under tight security and denied the freedom to go out or meet people as she pleased.

She has kept saying she wants to return to Calcutta but the government has not allowed that, citing security concerns.

Her visa extension in February came with the rider that she remain sensitive to India’s traditions and secular ethos — which effectively meant she must keep her mouth shut.

Asked if she would return to India after treatment, Taslima told PTI she would love to be back, especially to Calcutta, if she was allowed to live a normal life.

The author was packed off from Calcutta after protesters demanding her expulsion rioted on the streets. Several Islamic groups have continued to demand that she be asked to leave India for hurting Muslim sentiments through her writings.

Taslima has posted two articles on her official website since she was shifted to the Delhi safe house. In the second of them, she spoke of “defeat”.

“I am but a simple writer who neither knows nor understands the dynamics of politics. The way in which I was turned into a political pawn, however, and treated at the hands of base politicians, beggars belief. For what end, you may well ask. A few measly votes,” she wrote.

“The force of fundamentalism, which I have opposed and fought for many years, has only been strengthened by my defeat.”