Reacting to reports that Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen had been sent back from the Aurangabad airport following protests against her, Asmita Basu, Programmes Director at Amnesty International India, said, “Stopping Taslima Nasreen from visiting Aurangabad simply because a political party didn’t want her there marks a worrying capitulation by Maharashtra authorities to the threat of violence.”
The controversial author, currently living in India, was on Sunday sent back from the Chikal thana airport as soon as she landed in the city following protests by a group of people led by the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) legislator from Aurangabad central constituency, Imtiyaz Jaleel. Alleging that her works had “hurt” religious sentiments of Muslims globally, Jaleel had said, “We will not allow her to step on the soil of our city”.
The author was sent back to Mumbai by the next available flight so as to steer clear of a “law and order problem”, Deputy Commissioner of Police (zone-II) Rahul Shrirame was quoted by PTI as saying.
Reacting to this, Amnesty International said that the police must ensure that fundamental rights of an individual are not threatened by politics groups. “The state police must protect the right to freedom of movement, not allow hardline groups to decide where individuals can go based on their likes and dislikes,” a statement by the organisation said.
“State governments should not allow basic rights to be held ransom so easily. Any restrictions on freedom of movement should be necessary and proportionate to meet legitimate objectives,” the statement added.
Currently a citizen of Sweden, Nasreen was given a one-year visa extension by the Indian government from July 23, 2017. She had been getting permissions to stay consistently since 2004. She left Bangladesh in 1993, after sensing a threat to her life from hardline groups who were furious with Nasreen after her book ‘Lajja’ was published which talked about Hindu-Muslim riots in the country.