Kolkata: Exiled Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen said she had hoped that the situation in West Bengal would improve for her to return after Mamata Banerjee took over as the chief minister in 2011 but she found the Trinamool Congress supremo “harsher” than the Left Front government in this regard. “I had expected that the situation in West Bengal will change after Mamata came to power. But I was wrong. I found her harsher than the earlier Left Front government,” she said over phone from her undisclosed residence in New Delhi.
Noting that she was a “victim of vote bank politics”, Nasreen said that politicians irrespective of their party affiliation have the same outlook about her.
“Politicians are all on the same platform when it comes down to me. I think it’s because they think that if they can satisfy the Muslim fundamentalists they will get votes. I believe I am a victim of vote bank politics. This also shows that how weak the democracy is and politicians ask votes by banning a writer,” she said.
And that is exactly what is happening in West Bengal, she said and described the opposition to her return by the state government as a “dangerous opposition”.
“Even though I am not staying there, she (Banerjee) has not allowed my book ‘Nirbasan’ to be published. Also, she has stopped the broadcast of a TV serial scripted by me after Muslim fundamentalists objected to it. She is not allowing me to enter the state… This is a dangerous opposition,” Nasreen said.
The Bangladeshi writer has been living in exile since 1994 in the wake of death threats by Muslim fundamentalists. After staying in Europe, Nasreen took refuge in India in 2004 and stayed in Kolkata. But in 2007, she was expelled from West Bengal following violent protests by Muslims against her writings. She had moved to Sweden, after initial staying at an undisclosed location in New Delhi.
She later returned to India and now lives in New Delhi. Asked whether she would like to contact Banerjee and seek help for her return to the city, Nasreen said that she had written to the chief minister but there was no response.
“I wrote to Mamata Banerjee. But there was no response to that… To be honest, I had written an article for a popular Bengali daily hoping that she will notice it and help my cause… Though it was a very positive article on Mamata but nothing changed,” she said.
On whether she would write to Ms Banerjee again, the 52-year-old writer said, “No I am not going to write to her again. I do not think she will consider my request. I feel very hopeless because I expected something positive. I think when it comes down to me, she has similar vision like that of the Left leaders.”