Shunned writer Taslima Nasreen arrives in Indian capital (The Earth Times)
"In a violent protest on Wednesday in Kolkata [Calcutta] of umbrella organization of several small Islamic outfits All-India Minority Forum set up roadblocks in the city and demanded cancellation of 45-year-old Nasreen's visa, which expires on February 17, 2008.
"Protestors torched cars, at least 43 people were hurt, more than 100 arrests were made, and soldiers of the Indian army patrolled the streets to control the protest.
"'The Kolkata police have advised me to leave the city on grounds of my security, which is why I have come to Jaipur,' Nasreen told The Hindu, adding: 'I have no place to go. India is my home, and I would like to keep living in this country till I die.'
"The state secretary Biman Bose of West Bengal's ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) had said on Wednesday that the author's visa should be cancelled if her presence was causing problems, a statement he backtracked on Thursday saying that only the federal government had the power to deny a visa extension."
On what the new exile means for Nasrin personally and as a writer:
Nasrin: "East [Bengal] has already closed the doors to me... so I want to stay in West Bengal where I feel at home."
fellow writer Shib Narain Ray: "Like us, she is a Bengali, and she only writes in Bengali. She cannot enter Bangladesh, so her only option is to live amongst Bengalis in Calcutta if she has to exist as a writer of some consequence."
On the role of the Left-Front government of West Bengal:
Fall & fall of Buddha [Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee] by Sugata Roy (Times of India, November 25, 2007):
"The role reversal didn't come in a day. It began the day when the CM banned Nasreen's novel Dwikhandita on grounds that some of its passages (pg 49-50) contained some 'deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any group by insulting its religion or religious belief.' What's worse is Buddha banned its printing at the behest of some city 'intellectuals' close to him. This was the first assault on a writer's freedom in the post-Emergency period. Later, a division bench of the Calcutta High Court lifted the ban.
"But the court order was not enough to repair the damage. [...] And when fundamentalists took the Taslima to the streets, they were at a loss. Or else, why should Left Front chairman Biman Bose lose his senses and say that Taslima should leave the state for the sake of peace? Or, senior CPM leaders like West Bengal Assembly Speaker Hashim Abdul Halim say that Taslima was becoming a threat to peace? Even worse, former police commissioner Prasun Mukherjee — now in the dog house for his alleged role in the Rizwanur death — went to Taslima's Kolkata residence and put pressure on her to leave the state. This was before last week's violence in Kolkata."