Taslima can seek asylum in France, says French Ambassador

February 17th, 2008 - 11:28 am ICT by admin  

Taslima Nasreen
Puducherry, Feb 17 (ANI): Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen could seek asylum in France and visit Paris whenever she likes to receive Simone de Beauvoir literary award, French Ambassador to India Jerome Bonnafont has said.

He said the French government’s offer to give asylum to her was in tune with their traditions of offering it to those facing threat to their lives for expressing their opinions.

“We want to give shelter and express solidarity with individuals facing threat to life and this is in agreement with the French tradition of giving asylum”, Bonnafont told reporters here on Friday.

Taslima is staying at an undisclosed place in Delhi since being bundled out of Kolkata in November 2007 following large-scale violent protests in that city by a radical Islamic outfit protesting her allegedly blasphemous writings. They also demanded her ouster from India.

Freedom of religion and expression are very fundamental to India and France, the French Ambassador said.

He also recalled how Sri Aurobindo had sought asylum in Puducherry when it was under French rule.

He said President of France Nicolas Sarkozy had extended an invitation to her to visit France to receive the ‘Simone de Beauvoir’ award.

The French Ambassador said, however, that he understood that Taslima did not feel like leaving India for the time being. But she has an “open invitation to visit whenever she wants,” he added. (ANI)

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