Statesman News Service
KOLKATA, June 23: Security for Taslima Nasreen has been tightened since yesterday following a threat issued by the imams of several mosques and some city-based fundamentalist organisations. They have said they “would not sit idle” if their demand for the controversial Bangladeshi authoress to be “thrown out of India” was not immediately responded to by the governments in New Delhi and Kolkata. Armed plainclothesmen are keeping round-the-clock vigil and screening all visitors. “I have received threats so my security has been increased,” she told The Statesman.
Security agencies are trying to find out whether the local fundamentalists have been put up to it by their Bangladeshi brethren, with whom they are said to be linked at several levels. The threat has come at a time when the Bangladesh High Court has summoned her to be in Dhaka within the next few days for a case filed by an author who has complained that she, in writing one of her books, has hurt his religious sentiments.
But she is unable to make the trip as Bangladesh’s diplomatic authorities in Kolkata have refused to renew her passport on the plea that only Dhaka can wave her through. Her attempts to get her passport renewed in New York ~ and elsewhere ~ have proved abortive, apparently because of the Khaleda Zia government’s refusal to let her return to the country. Nasreen has been without a Bangladeshi passport since 1997, travelling on the basis of a European Union passport.
Kolkata’s Bangladesh Mission has also refused to let her engage a lawyer for cases pending against her in Bangladeshi courts and to okay her application seeking the legal power for her brother to be able to sell her flat in a high-rise apartment block in Dhaka’s wealthy Shantinagar area.