Allow Taslima to return to Kolkata: Mahasweta Devi

Posted on November 24, 2010

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Kolkata: Magsaysay Award winning litterateur Mahasweta Devi Monday demanded that Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin be allowed to come back to Kolkata.

She also requested all the people fighting for a political change in the West Bengal, to come forward and fight for the return of Nasrin.

In a written statement to Women Against Oppression (WAO), which held a protest on the third anniversary of Taslima’s banishment from Kolkata, Mahasweta Devi said the ill-treatment meted out to the Bangladeshi writer would be one of the main causes for the Left Front government’s decline.

‘The state government’s dictum to drive away Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin from Kolkata was under the pressure from a particular group of people. And it will be one of the main reasons if the ruling Marxists have to go away from this state,’ Mahasweta Devi said in the statement.

‘To take away the freedom of writing from a writer is not justified and we want Taslima back in the city,’ she said.

Bengali poet Joy Goswami requested the central and state governments to help bring back Taslima into the country and allow her to write according to her own choice.

He also urged all the writers and authors in the state to unite and create pressure on the government demanding ‘Taslima Nasrin be allowed to return to Kolkata and all her writings be published’.

Singer Pallav Kirtaniya and Human Rights Activist Sujato Bhadra were also present at the function.

Trouble had erupted over extensive parts of south Kolkata Nov 21, 2007, with the All India Minority Front – a pre-dominantly Muslim body – organising a violent demonstration demanding that Taslima be asked to leave the metropolis. As the situation threatened to go out of hand, the state government called in the army.

However, sensing that Taslima’s stay here could further dent its Muslim voter base, the state government asked the writer to leave the very next day.

Taslima, who had earlier been forced to leave Bangladesh in 1994 after some of her writings infuriated the Muslim fundamentalists, moved to Kolkata in 2004.

After being asked to leave Kolkata, Taslima was shifted to Delhi – where restrictions were imposed on her movement. Now she is in New York in the US.

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