Campaign for Taslima citizenship gains momentum

February 22nd, 2008 - 5:58 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Feb 22 (IANS) Over 100 writers and intellectuals have started a campaign to press the government so that it grants Indian citizenship to Bangladeshi writer Tasleema Nasreen, living in exile here. “The efforts will continue till justice is done to her. She is being punished for doing nothing wrong. Expression is everybody’s fundamental right and that should not be throttled at all,” Giridhar Rathi, a writer associated with the campaign, told IANS Friday.

“We are contacting like-minded writers, intellectuals and other social activists to build pressure on the government of India to grant citizenship to Taslima at the earliest,” Rathi said.

“The support for citizenship to Nasreen has already come from Susham Bedi, a novelist in the US, poet Usha Verma and linguist Mahendra Verma in Britain, Annette von der Hoek in Holland, Geza, a Tibetan-Sanskrit scholar in Hungary, and writer and Islamic scholar Paul Brennan in Australia,” Rathi said.

On Friday, a number of writers and intellectuals including political analyst Yogendra Yadav, historian Sudhir Chandra and veteran thinker and socialist leader Surendra Mohan expressed their support to the move for citizenship to Nasreen.

The writers have started a signature campaign, drafted by poet Keki Daruwalla. Signatories include Krishna Sobti, a fellow of the Sahitya Akademi, and several convenors of various languages at the Akademi, such as Chandrakant Deol (Rajasthani), Alok Bhalla (English) and Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari (Hindi).

Rathi said so far over 100 writers and intellectuals have either signed or endorsed the appeal underlining the Indian tradition of sheltering those who are “victimised outside its borders”.

Prominent among them are Mahashweta Devi, M.T. Vasudevan Nair, Kunwar Narain, Balraj Komal, Devendra Issar, Mohan Jit, Karanjit Singh, Geetnjali Shree and Raji Seth.

Rathi said that some artists were also thinking of joining the campaign for freedom of expression.

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