Welcome to the new, non-“Islamophobic” secular democracies, where exercising one’s freedom of speech regarding oppression in an Islamic context gets you ostracised, threatened, and relegated to virtual prisoner status.
KOLKATA: Confined to a “˜safe house” somewhere in New Delhi and shut out from the world except for phone calls and e-mails, controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen will celebrate the new year in a no-man’s land of fading hope, despair and crushing loneliness.
“I am only breathing. I don’t think I am alive like you are. Can anybody live like this? It was beyond my imagination that in a secular democracy this can happen to a writer,” Nasreen said from her room in an undisclosed location.
Nasreen, who has been living under state protection since November when she was removed from Kolkata after street riots over her “anti-Islam” writings, has been virtually told by Indian officials that that she could either continue to stay in the national capital confined in a room or leave the country.
“What do you think? Will they let me go? You are a journalist, you can tell better. They want to break me psychologically and they might succeed also since my confidence and mental strength are flagging already. I can’t live like this any more,” she said.
The feisty woman went on to add: “But I also want to see how long they can keep me like this. I have decided not to move out of India on my own.”
Nasreen would not be allowed to meet any friend at her “undisclosed” residence in the new year.
“The rule they have made is strange. If I want to meet someone neither can I visit the person’s house not can he or she come over to my place. We would have to meet in a third place. Is it not draconian?” she asked.
“The home ministry decides everything about my visitors. UTV wanted to make a film on me but even they were not allowed to meet me,” Nasreen said, her voice choking with emotion.