Taslima asked to leave India, apply for fresh visa

Controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin may have to leave India soon and apply for a fresh visa because her travel document expires in the middle of next month.

Updated: Jul 22, 2010, 18:14 PM IST

New Delhi: As the government is yet to
decide on her plea for residential permit, controversial
Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin may have to leave India soon
and apply for a fresh visa because her travel document expires
in the middle of next month.

The 47-year-old doctor-turned writer is also trying for
a permanent residency in the country. Her visa is valid till
August 16. Her application for granting a permanent residency
in the country has been hanging in balance for years together.
Official sources said the government has already made it
clear that Taslima`s visa cannot be extended beyond August 16,
2010 as her travel document had been issued under the category
(miscellaneous).

Taslima, a Swedish passport-holder, had sought visa
under the miscellaneous category in 2005 and it has since been
extended initially for a year and later for six months. The
visa under this category cannot be extended beyond five years.

She has been conveyed that she should seek a fresh visa
from a third country after which she could visit India again,
the sources said.

Taslima, who has been in and out of the country after
she was dramatically bundled out of West Bengal in November
2007 in the wake of protests by radical Muslim groups, came
from London in the wee hours of Sunday last and was
immediately whisked away to a safe location.

The future plans of the writer, who shot to fame with her
controversial book `Lajja` in 1994, were not immediately
known.
The writer has been told that she could stay in some
other country for a few days and later apply afresh for the
visa under the same category, pending her request for a
permanent residency in the country, the sources said.

The writer had earlier expressed her desire to visit
Kolkata but it has been turned down on the ground that radical
elements may try to harm her, the sources said.

Taslima had earlier left India on March 18, 2008, for
Sweden after she was kept at an undisclosed place here for
more than four months. She had not been allowed to see any
visitor during the period and described her confinement as "a
chamber of death".

Recipient of various awards, she was shifted from her
Kolkata residence after violent protests in the eastern
metropolis over her controversial book "Dwikhondito"
(divided into two). Certain references in the book had earned
the wrath of some Muslim organisations which demanded that she
be asked to leave the Left-ruled state.

Taslima has lived in exile in many countries including
France, Sweden, the US and India since leaving her home
in Dhaka in a cloak of secrecy in 1994. During her stay in
India in the last five years, she has periodically travelled
abroad with the last trip being in August 2009.

PTI