I am fine, Taslima says from hospital bed in Europe

March 21st, 2008 - 4:06 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Taslima Nasreen
By Sujoy Dhar
Kolkata, March 21 (IANS) Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, who left India for Europe after confinement in a “safe house” at New Delhi for nearly four months, said she was in hospital but was keeping well. “I am in hospital. I am much better now,” she wrote in an email (in Bengali) to IANS Friday from her hospital bed.

“I have no stress now. I am doing well,” she wrote but did not give the name or location of the hospital.

According to Swedish media, Taslima, who has left India complaining of ill treatment, is probably in Sweden.

Radio Sweden quoted Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter as saying it was “highly likely” that the controversial author is in Sweden but that security concerns have “gagged all her circle of contacts”.

The award-winning author, who is in Europe to seek medical care, has been in touch with Swedish Liberal Party MP Cecilia Wikstrom, the International Herald Tribune reported.

“I can confirm that she has landed this afternoon at an airport somewhere in Europe, but due to security reasons I cannot say anything of her whereabouts,” Wikstrom said.

“She is in Europe to receive medical advice. The pressure was too much for her (in India),” she added.

The Swedish news agency TT also said Taslima was in Sweden.

On Wednesday, an ailing Taslima finally left India for medical treatment abroad. Magsaysay winning social activist Mahasweta Devi dubbed her departure as a “shame” for India.

“I am at Heathrow airport now, waiting for a connecting flight,” Taslima had told a friend in Kolkata from London Wednesday night but did not give her destination from London.

The author was kept in a safe house in New Delhi since November-end after she was shunted out of Kolkata following unprecedented street violence over her stay in India and previous writings that criticise Islam and its treatment of women.

Mahasweta Devi, the 82-year-old activist and writer, told IANS: “It is a shame. The circumstances under which she left are reprehensible for a free and secular India.

“I read her email where she described her stay in New Delhi like living in a death chamber. I called her up and asked her to leave and get better treatment,” she said.

“West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee colluded to ensure that she was forced to leave India. It is a conspiracy in the name of Muslim votes.

“Is this independent India? It is a dangerous situation where a woman seeking asylum is put behind walls,” she said.

Earlier, Taslima told IANS: “I can’t take it any more. I will die if I continue to live like this.”

“I am losing my eyesight, my heart is damaged. I have to survive. I am dying like this. I have to immediately get good treatment because I am not even getting cardiologists here,” she said from her undisclosed address in New Delhi.

India’s external affairs ministry extended her visa in mid-February but restrictions on her movements continued.

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