Katju Demands Permanent Visa for Taslima

Holding that Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen has been hounded for her novel Lajja, Press Council of India chairperson Justice Markandey Katju today demanded that she be given a permanent visa to reside in India.

In a statement released here, Katju said he had read in the newspapers that Nasreen's visa has been extended by the Indian government by only 2 months.

"In my opinion she should be given a permanent visa to reside in India," Katju, a former judge of the Supreme Court said.

"Several bigots and fanatics have hounded her ever since she wrote her book Lajja. I have read the book. It only depicts the atrocities on Hindus in Bangladesh after the demolition of Babri Masjid. There is nothing against Islam in that book," he said.

The controversial writer, who is living in exile since 1994, has been refused a one-year visa by the government and instead given permission to stay in India for two months.

The 51-year-old writer had applied for a resident permit and the Home Ministry granted her the same type of visa but only for two months beginning August 1.

Upset over India's decision to grant her 2-month visa, Nasreen, who had to leave Bangladesh in 1994 in the wake of death threat by fundamentalist outfits for her alleged anti-Islamic views, said the decision was "beyond my imagination".

Taslima is now a citizen of Sweden. She had been living in exile since 1994 and has lived in the US, Europe and India in the last two decades. However, on many occasions she had expressed her wish to live in India permanently, especially in Kolkata.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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